Mental Health Days

And why it’s okay to take them…

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

Over the last few days, I have been struggling with a particularly bad patch of depression. It has been one of those times when it has even been a struggle to get out of bed, and all I’ve really wanted to do is curl up in a ball and read, because when I read, I can escape into another world that isn’t mine.

The thing is that I had to decide which battles were worth fighting. I could have dragged myself up and forced myself to persevere with what I ‘should’ have been doing, and would have probably got none of it done, or at least, done it very badly.

I couldn’t concentrate on anything much at all, and every time I tried to think, I just kept falling back into that black hole.

This is when I knew that I needed to make the decision on whether I carried on throwing myself against a brick wall, or whether I just decide to practice self care, and give my body and mind what it wants.

That’s the thing with depression, or any other kind of invisible illness. Sometimes, you have to pick your battles; and sometimes, it’s okay to accept that you need to take a minute, or an hour, or a day.

My usual limit on mental health days is three. If I need to, I will allow myself three days off, but after that, I try and get back into some kind of routine. Although I still try to practice self care.

There are several ways of self care, and they can range from simply watching a favourite movie or tv show, or reading a favourite book, to taking a bath, or giving yourself a manicure, or even taking the dog for a walk.

The thing to remember, no matter how guilty you feel is that the world won’t stop turning just because you need to take some time to look after your own mental health.

It’s a battle sometimes; I know that, but it’s really important that you learn to accept your limitations and that you listen to your body and mind, because, when it comes down to it, if you’re not going to listen, then who wil



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.


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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.