Chronic Illness

And Why Flares Are A Pain In The A**

Photo by Mitchell Hollander on Unsplash

Anyone with a chronic illness will say that they live with a certain level of that illness every single day. They could live with pain, overwhelming exhaustion, brain fog, migraines, and any number of other things.

The thing is that there are times when these illnesses flare up, and these are the times when the symptoms of these illnesses seem to double, both in intensity and in frequency.

As I have said before, I suffer with TMJD (Temporo Mandibular Joint Dysfunction). Lately, I have been going through a flare. For me, this looks like:

· Extremely limited opening

· Cracking jaw

· Severe pain

· Mouth ulcers

· Migraines

· Neck Ache

· Tooth Ache

· Ear Ache

· Dizziness

· Disturbed sleep

The thing is that a lot of these symptoms sound fairly minor, and if it were one thing on its own, then it would be manageable, but when all of these things happen at the same time, it makes life pretty much unbearable.

Most of these symptoms are not necessarily visible, which can make it even more difficult, as people may tend to think that I’m overreacting, or being a drama queen, but I challenge them to live a day in my life when I’m going through a flare.

So, what is a flare?

Basically, a flare is a time when all of these symptoms are further intensified, and often occur simultaneously. This, coupled with the pressure that I often put on myself to try and push through, can leave me feeling despair. A flair means that doing ordinary activities, and basically living my life can become an almost impossible task. To put it bluntly, a flare is a big pain. We don’t want to be dealing with this, but the fact is that we are, and we have very little choice in the matter.

I know many people with other chronic conditions, for whom this is also true.

The thing is that when going through a flare, the best thing we can do for ourselves, is to try and practice self care. We need to listen to our bodies, regardless of others’ opinions that we might be ‘malingering’, ‘a drama queen’, or ‘lazy’.

If you are going through a flare, remember to try and be kind to yourself. If you need to take a duvet day, then it’s okay to do just that. If you need to just be by yourself, and sleep all day, then that’s okay too. Basically, the best thing that you can do if you’re having a flare is to listen to your body and give it what it needs.

So, be kind to yourself. Listen to your body, and give it what it needs, because, remember, no one else can do it for you and it is okay to give yourself permission to practice self care, even though the flare you’re going through might feel like a big pain in the a**!


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

The Next Chapter

The Next Chapter

I’m Baaaaack!

Photo by Justine Camacho on Unsplash

I’ve let this blog slip massively. I’ve not been well (emotionally and physically) and it’s been very hard to summon up the energy to do any writing at all. I just haven’t been able to motivate myself to do it, whether that’s ‘it’ is the action of sitting at my computer and typing, or whether it’s the mental process of coming up with things to write. Either way, things haven’t got done, and posts haven’t been written, and it got to the point where I had to say to myself that I had to take a break, for my own sanity.

I’m feeling a little better now, and have been able to write, so I’m hoping that I can get back on track with this blog, because I really have missed it.

The thing is that sometimes, life gets in the way, and in the past I would have blamed myself for not being strong enough to be able to cope with it, and to also get on with things (like writing these posts), but I am slowly learning that it’s okay to say that I’m having a bad day, and that the post I want to write will wait until tomorrow, and it will probably be better for me giving myself some time. I’m not saying that I never have those feelings of ‘not being good enough’, but I am more aware of them now, and I can try and practice being kind to myself.

So, I guess what this post was really about was to say that I’m back, and that I hope you’ll join me on this next journey this coming month. 🙂


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Chronic Illness

Chronic Illness

And What It’s Like Living With It

Photo by Raphaela Vergud on Unsplash

There is so much talk about chronic illness nowadays, and everyone seems to think that they know exactly what it means to live with one.

Often, it seems like it almost has become a one size fits all. There are buzz words, like ‘Spoonies’, and don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking this, but there’s a lot more to chronic illness than these words.

There are so many people suffering with all manner of chronic illnesses, every day, and the symptoms of those illnesses all take different forms.

I have Facial Arthromyalgia, caused by Temporo Mandibular Joint Dysfunction. Basically, I clench my teeth so much, and so hard, (thanks anxiety), that I have screwed up my jaw, and more often than not, my face feels like I’ve been through a mega intense work out at the gym, except that the associated pain doesn’t ease.

Imagine walking around with your whole head and neck feeling like your legs would after an hour long run.

My TMJD means that I have regular (often daily) headaches, which usually shift to migraines. My neck aches continually, and most of the time, it hurts to eat.

Simple things like yawning, terrify me, because they mean that I will need to open my mouth wide, and when I do this, my jaw cracks, when the cartilage moves out of its proper place.

When my jaw is particularly bad, I have to cut up my food into tiny pieces, or just opt for soft foods. It’s at these times when things like porridge and jelly (jello) are my best friends.

Another nasty side effect is that I find it difficult to sleep. This isn’t because of actual pain at the time, but because I know that when I do sleep, I will begin clenching, and that will make my jaw even worse. I can always tell when I’ve had a bad night, because I always wake up with a migraine.

The thing is, I’ve learned to live with it, and I know when I can push myself, and when I have to just give in, but there are only so many times that you can tell someone that you have a headache, before they begin to think you’re just making excuses.

I guess, the point I’m trying to make is that it doesn’t matter how many buzz words they come up with, or how many times it is explained, we (those living with these illnesses) are really the only ones who know what it is like.

For those of you reading this, who are fellow sufferers, I want to tell you to listen to your body. You know better than anyone else, how much you can handle, and don’t you dare let anyone push you past what you are able to do.

I am standing beside you. I know your suffering, and I know what it is like to fight a battle that no one else sees. You are not alone.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Pain

Pain

A Poem

by Gabriel Matula on Unsplash

Pain
Twists,
Inside my head.
Hurts,
Throbs,
No small relief.
Nails,
Pound,
Into my ears.
Brain’s
Fuzz,
And makes no sense.

This is my brain tonight.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Headaches and Hurting

Headaches and Hurting

The Pain Of Chronic Illness

by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

I was woken up at 5am, by my jaw, which decided to clench itself so badly during the night, that it gave me a migraine. I staggered downstairs, and got myself some painkillers and some water to take them with, and then went back to bed, where I tried to lay as still as I possibly could, because I didn’t want to risk making it any worse.

At about eight o clock, my miniature dachshund alarm clock demanded to be taken downstairs and let out in the garden. I then fed the dogs, while trying to stay upright, and not let the dizziness take over completely.

For the first half hour after that, I just tried to lay still in the hopes of not angering my jaw muscles any more, but it didn’t really work, and it was at that point, where I had to make the decision on whether I would try and go about my day, or whether I should just give in and rest.

In the end, I made the decision to do a bit of both. I had a pawtrait commission that I needed to work on, but at the same time, trying to do that when I couldn’t really see straight would have been pure stupidity. Instead, I decided to paint another fairy door, because I knew that there were larger areas that didn’t require such precise work.

I forced myself to take the dogs out, partly because I knew that they needed to go for a walk, and partly because I was hoping that the fresh air might help. Although it improved my mood massively, physically, I began to get shooting pains in my ears, and phantom wisdom tooth pain.

So, this afternoon, I chose to rest for a while. The dogs haven’t left me alone all day, almost as if they are playing nurse maid to me, which is very sweet, and definitely makes me feel loved.

The pain is still there, and I can only hope that a good night’s sleep will help to ease it a little. The thing is that this is not me throwing a pity party. I truly mean that. I don’t expect sympathy at all.

It is just one of those things that is a part of having a chronic illness. Many, many people have chronic pains that they deal with on a daily basis, and they are some of the bravest and strongest people I know. Especially as a number of them suffer under the curse that is an invisible illness.

In truth, I often think that invisible illnesses are some of the worst things to deal with, because (to state the obvious) there is nothing to see. People end up feeling like they must prove their conditions exist, and I know a number of people that have endured judgements, and prejudices, simply because someone could not see what was wrong with them.

It is a truly unfair situation. People with all manner of pain and disabilities are often forced to sit in silence because they simply feel too afraid or ashamed to actually say that “Yes” they do have an illness, and “Yes” they are in pain, or exhausted, or worn out, because they don’t know what response they will receive, and you know what?

That really sucks!


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Writing Through The Pain

Writing Through The Pain

The Struggle Is Real

by Asdrubal luna on Unsplash

I made the decision to do Nanowrimo again this year, and I am determined to win this time. I’ve had a few setbacks, which have left me very much below the ‘on par’ word count that I should be at, but I’m not too worried, because I have a lot of writing to do and that simply excites me.

The thing is, though, that my anxiety doesn’t agree and leaves me feeling freaked out about the number of words I must hit. Well, this year, I refuse to let my anxiety win, when it tells me that I am a failure, and that I may as well give up, because, you know what? Even if life gets in the way and I find myself unable to actually finish the 50000 words, I have still written far more words than I would have done if I hadn’t been doing Nano.

Some of the things that have come up have been general ‘life’ things, but others (and this is where I struggle), are to do with my physical and emotional health. Some days, my tmjd flares up and I have a constant headache from the moment I wake up, to the moment that I go to bed. These days have been more often than not, lately, and it’s been hard to put the work in when my head feels like it’s going to explode.

The reality, though, is that the world doesn’t stop, just because I’m in pain. The truth is, that it keeps going, and nowadays, time seems to move faster and faster, and I can’t just stop whenever I have a bad day. I simply have to push through the pain, if I am ever going to get this novel finished and out and about in the world.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to push forward, and I am going to just keep on writing through the pain, because I know it will ease off eventually, but the writing that I do will always be there, and there’s nothing like the sense of achievement that looking at a finished chapter gives you!


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.