Monday, 7 January 2019

Waterstones Book Shop Haul

As I mentioned in my last post, I managed a little trip to the happiest place on Earth - Waterstones Book Shop, not Disneyland {I love Disney but books will always have my heart first} & I said I would do a little haul post about the books & things I came home with. Before we get into it, I have to say a massive thank you to my mum, as she treated me to all these goodies!

Once I knew I was going to be staying above Waterstones, I knew I'd have to manage my energy so I could make it there before going home. I also began to make a small list of the books I wanted to hopefully buy & I came away with almost all of them & a couple that weren't on the list. But enough random chatter, let's get on with sharing my little book haul {I've never done a haul before so please bare with me!}


Photo Description: A pack of small bookmarks with Mr Bump on them. A larger Bookmark with a cat & flowers on it.

Bookmarks are an essential item for all Book lovers & you can never have too many. I prefer the magnetic ones but I couldn't resist the Cat one when I saw it!

"Turtles All The Way Down" - John Green. {Paperback}

Photo Description: a book with an orange cover with a white spiral on it.

If you've been a long time reader of my blog, you may remember I wrote a review of this book when it came out October 2017 & so you might be thinking why I bought another copy. Well my original copy is the hardback version & while I much prefer paperback versions, I didn't want to wait over a year to read a book that I had already been waiting a long time for! So when the paperback came out, I decided to get it as it would make re-reading it much easier. {anyone else find hardbacks difficult to hold & take the jackets off them when you do?}

"Winnie-The-Pooh Doubts & Disquiet For Worriers" - A.A Milne

Photo Description: A pink book with gold writing on the cover.

This is an adorable little book full of Piglet quotes to remind us that, while we all have times of self doubt or feeling unsure about a situation, we're braver than we known & things usually turn out to not be as bad as what our anxious little minds make it out to be. I read this straight away & loved all the quotes. I even found them quite relatable in some ways {I'm not saying I think I have a Heffalump under my bed to be scared of!} because when you have Anxiety, your mind can make you think something is far worse than it really is. Piglet's friends are always there to reassure him that he's okay & definitely braver than he thinks. It's also a nice book to have if you're ever needing a quote for a post.

"Carve The Mark" - Veronica Roth

Photo Description: A book with a dark blue cover with gold writing.

This one wasn't on my list but has been on my radar for quite a while, along with it's sequel "The Fates Divide". Some of you may be familiar with Veronica Roth as she wrote the Divergent Series, which I love & often re-read. By the time you're reading this post, I'll have already started this book, {if you want a review, just let me know} so I can't tell you much about it other than it falls under the Fantasy/Sci-Fi genre, so a bit different from Divergent. Its main characters are from two feuding countries & they're brought together in difficult circumstances & must choose either loyalty to their country or love for each other. {that's basically the blurb from the back of the book}.

Veronica Roth has also included an Epilogue for the Divergent Series at the back of the book, which I have already read, called "We Can Be Mended". It's set 5 years after "Allegiant" & looks in on the characters that we left at the end of the series, to catch you up on how they are, especially Tobias & Christina. I often feel like Hazel Grace in The Fault in Our Stars, in that like her, I often wonder about the characters lives after the book has ended {Hazel included, how many more days did she get?} & by adding the Epilogue in here, Veronica Roth has given me some closure for my beloved characters. Thank you!

"Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine" - Gail Honeyman

Photo Description: A book with a white cover with little gold & black stars & burnt match sticks on it in the shape of the house.

I'm sure most of you will be familiar with this one & may even have read it, as it seems to have been popping up everywhere on Social Media for months now. As such, it's been on my "To Read" list for a while & I decided my trip to Waterstones would be the perfect time to purchase it. From the blurb on the back of the book Eleanor is described as a woman living the life of routine yet she feels something is missing, which is quite intriguing & I have a feeling it may hit a little close to home in some areas. This is Gail Honeyman's debut novel & it's received a lot of accolades including The Sunday Times Bestseller & Costa's First Novel Award! I'm looking forward to starting this once I've finished "Carve The Mark. Again if you'd like me to review it, just let me know.

221B Baker Street - The Sherlock Holmes Master Detective Game

Photo Description: A board game board with a a box in one corner, a note pad & booklet in another & a pack of game cards & playing pieces.

The very few people who know me intimately, know how much I love Cluedo {Clue if you're in the US} & how I own many many variations of the game, including The Simpsons one where you have find out who killed Mr Burns! They also know how much I adore Sherlock Holmes! So when I saw this game in Waterstones, I was intrigued to say the least & so it came home with me. This game looks like its going to be great to play, there's 75 Cases to solve & it's for 2 - 6 players & you can either play solo, in teams or all together to solve the Cases.

Each Case has its own card which tells you some details & what you need to find out. Then as you travel around the board to the different locations, you consult the Rules, Clues & Solutions book. Each clue has a number, which you look up in the book & then make a note of on your pad. Once you've found all the clues & think you've solved the case, you then have to head back to 221B Baker Street & give the solution in your best Sherlock Holmes impression. There is more to this but that is just the basic outline of the game. I'm looking forward to playing this on one of my less mentally exhausted days.

So there you have it, that's everything I got on my little trip to Waterstones Book Shop. I still have a couple of books on my list that I couldn't get, {well I couldn't get in Paperback form} which are Matt Haig's "Notes On A Nervous Planet" & Jacqueline Wilson's "My Mum Tracy Beaker",{don't judge, I grew up reading Tracy Beaker & want to read about her as an adult} both were in Hardback form but like I've said, I prefer Paperback & so will be pre-ordering them from the Waterstones website instead. If you have any other book recommendations, please leave me a comment below & I'll definitely check them out.

I hope you enjoyed my first Haul Post on this blog. It's nice to mix it up a bit on here as while I did start this little space to document my life with M.E, I also want to write about things that I love & about my life in general, hence why I changed the name a while ago to "Lo's Little Life". I do have a number of M.E/Chronic Illness related posts coming though & if you have any suggestions for topics you would like me to write about or any questions you'd like me to answer, please leave me a comment below or even pop me an email.

I hope you're all doing well & taking care,

L x

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Hello 2o19

I know most people's first post of a new year is all resolutions, goals, plans & aspirations for the coming year but that's not what this post is. While I do have a few plans - mainly regarding my blog & a few changes I want to make,{I'll share in time} I thought I'd write about my weekend away & how my little poorly body coped with going to a wedding. {Warning , this may get a little long, sorry}

So the week leading up to going away, {I say going away like I travelled to some distance place, when really I travelled about 30 minutes into the city I live close to & was in fact born in - Lancaster. UK not USA} ended up being a bit busier than I hoped. My Eyebrow & Hair appointments all ended up being in this week, which mean those things were fresh for the wedding, but they also took energy I really needed to save for the weekend.

Photo Description: a girl in tartan pyjama bottoms on a bed, holding a cup of tea.

Anyways, Friday arrived, I finished packing, showered, had my hair done & then late afternoon my mum & I set off to the hotel we were staying in, which was also where my brother's wedding was being held. The hotel itself, Royal Kings Arms is beautiful & turned out to be managed by an old high school friend of mine!

The room was nice & cosy & had everything a poorly person would need to survive a busy day - kettle, complimentary tea, free wifi & plug sockets next the bed so I could still play on my phone or iPad while it was charging! The only thing that was a bit of a struggle was the food - nothing to do with the hotel & everything to do with my ridiculous dietary requirements - Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Celery, Nut, & Pineapple free is a struggle at home, let alone when staying away - I basically packed my own food. Though the staff were happy to try their best to help, taking my ow food was the easier option & I hate being a nuisance. I have to say I really missed my "Hotel Scramble Egg Treat" that I would have when I went away. Since my mum doesn't have any food issues, she really enjoyed the food & would definitely recommend it!

Photo Description: a bedside table with bottles of water, a cup, a phon, a medication box & a book on it.

As soon I sorted my things out in the room, I never unpack properly when I stay away but I do hang my clothes & keep out my toiletries & the odd essential extra - medication, tech, book. Anyways, I was all too happy to get into my pyjamas, climb into bed & just relax & read. Annoyingly I didn't sleep great, I never do when I'm not in my own bed but the extra noise that comes with being in the middle of a city - people on night outs & emergency services sirens didn't help. The hotel is a beautiful listed building {it has a fascinating history - I encourage you to read about it on the website} & as such, it has single glazed sash windows, gorgeous & authentic, but not so great for keeping the noise out. {Not a complaint, just something to be aware of, if anyone reading this wants to stay there}

I slept maybe 4 hours & by 4am I was awake, unable to sleep again. So I laid in bed drinking tea, resting & planning out the times I would begin to get ready for the wedding {doing anything when you're a poorly person ironically takes a lot of work!} At around 11am, my mum & I snuck down the rooms the wedding would be held in. I had my camera with me, mainly to document my little break away but I also wanted to photograph the venue. The room the ceremony took place was lovely but it was the chandelier in the room the wedding breakfast was being held in, is what took my breath away! It was stunning & the photographs do not do it justice!

Photo Description: a large room with rows of chairs lit by chandeliers.

Photo Description:a large room with tables & chairs. A large chandelier in the middle, with a balcony around the top of the room.

I then slowly made it back to my room, had lunch, pain killers & rested. We had to be back downstairs by 3:30pm, so I began to slowly get ready around 1:30pm. I did very minimal make up, put my dress on & just put a quick straightener over my hair. That was the benefit to having it done the day before, it didn't need washing or the usual half an hour straighten - my hair is half way down my back & naturally wavy. I then had between 30-45 minutes of rest before I had to make my way downstairs.

The ceremony itself was lovely & being in a big, spacious room with 50 or so people really helped me not feel as drained of energy. It also wasn't noisy, people clapped of course but that was basically the loudest sound in the room - the vow renewal I went to a few months ago, people actually whooped & shouted! So it was nice to not feel my sensory system was being assaulted & as such my little poorly body coped quite well with whole thing. I also did the sensible thing of returning to room after the ceremony, taking off my make-up, getting into my pyjamas, having some food & more pain killers. I then put a quiet film on, which I missed most of as I dozed off & woke to the credits!

Photo Description: A patterned, Switch Stick walking stick leaning against the wall of a bedroom..

I then read for a little while & settled down to sleep sometime between 10pm & 11pm. I had much better night's sleep - probably because I was completely wiped out from the days activities. I woke not feeling great at all, {being hit by a truck comes to mind} but surprisingly I could lift my head off the pillow & managed to dress. I had packed the night before - I needed to put a few things in my case & in the bid to saving energy, while I had my case open, I packed.

So just after 10am, with my trusty walking stick in hand, we checked out & I took the short walk into my favourite place... Waterstones Book Shop. Oh yeah, I should probably have mentioned that the hotel is next door to what I consider the happiest place on Earth! I haven't set foot in my beloved Waterstones for years & standing in there surrounded by books, I just wanted to cry! No matter how ill I was feeling, I was not going to miss this opportunity of being so close & not let my little poorly body get in the way & thankfully, I had barely enough energy for the push I needed to go.

Photo Description: Inside a bookshop, lights hanging from the ceiling, stairs leading to an upstair with shelves full of books & a number of customers browsing the books.

I came home with a few new books & other things {I'm thinking of doing a Waterstones haul post if anyone is interested}, I've already read one & I'm now trying to decide which one to read next, well next after the book I'm just about to finish. Once my body began to tell me in no uncertain terms that I had done too much, I dragged myself away from all those lovely books & headed home, where I got into my pyjamas & climbed into bed. I stayed there until Sunday just gone. My little poorly body was in quite a bit of pain & I was utterly exhausted. The Post Excursion Malaise wasn't much fun but it wasn't as bad as what I experienced at the end of October, which was definitely a relief. I also picked up a chest infection which added to what I already had to deal with.

Overall, my little weekend away went really well & I think the change of scenery did me some good, especially since I haven't been well enough to go anyway since I went to Edinburgh in July 2o17! I'm just so incredibly proud of what my body coped with, especially since I gave it a few added extras to deal with. My mum even suggested that since the hotel rates are really reasonably, we could just book for a night anytime I felt well enough & wanted to get away & have a trip to Waterstones. It's not far to travel & having a place for my body to crash after buying books would be great!

I hope everyone else is having a good start to 2019, especially my fellow M.E Warriors who also celebrate the holidays, I understand how difficult it must be. Never forget, you are all amazing & no matter what this coming year holds, remember all that you have survived & know you can get through anything this year brings.

Take care,

L x

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Goodbye 2o18

Well it's that time of year again, the end of 2018 is fast approaching & it's the time of year when I begin to think back over the year & try to analyse how the year went. So since I'm on bed rest for most of this week, I thought I'd take the opportunity & actually do some writing - I know I've not posted for a little while.

So 2018 - a year of ups & downs for me. The beginning of the year was spent dealing with food allergies, a chest infection & Thyroid issues. So by the time May came around, I was even more exhausted than normal. That's when I decided to take a "Year of Rest" & really limit everything as my poor body had taken quite a beating - my Immune System especially.

I allowed myself the odd outing in my garden to take photographs, have a drive out in the car, {as a passenger} I also kept my Hair & Eyebrow appointments {these things help my Mental Health stay okay} but I have spent most of my time either in bed or downstairs on the sofa. I made myself a strict routine & I've managed to stick to it.... well most of the time.

Photo Description: A pink flower with circles of light behind it.

We had visitors over the Summer & I managed some time with them, including a little outing to one of my favourite places & some photography in the garden on one of the cooler days we had in August {we had an unusually hot summer for the UK} I again ended up with a chest infection along with dealing with Pollen allergies for the first time in my life!

It is always nice having visitors, but the extra people in the house can have a big impact on someone with M.E. So when September arrived, I was very ready for a quiet month. Then the nightmare that was October happened, Bilateral Tendonitis struck both hands, I had an activity or appointment every single week & I've felt run down & like I've had a cold ever since. Thankfully, November was another quiet month. I spent most of it in bed apart from the last weekend in the month where I just needed to escape the house. So my mum & I headed to the beach {5 minute drive away} where I photographed the Sunset & just enjoyed the fresh air.

Photo Description: Sunset at the Beach.

December didn't start well; mentally, more than physically really. Something happened that knocked me for a loop for a few days but it's been dealt with & I'm back to my happy little self. It did make me think over, not just this last year, but the past three years though. I've been through a lot in the last three years; heartbreak, relapses, medication overdoses, Herxes, loss of a family member & much more. But I've survived it all & come out a much stronger, better, happier person.

All of the things I've dealt with over this past year, have all been out of my control. However, I could control my reaction to them & how I dealt with them. I look at all the bad times as challenges to help me grow as a person & strengthen my resilience to keep going. The bad times can help you appreciate the good times even more & help you celebrate all the small victories you achieve, like managing a shower, getting dressed {even if it's a change of pyjamas} or making it down & back up the stairs {even if you go down them on your bum & crawl back up!}

Photo Description: a black and white cat & two tabby cats laid on a bed.

I've got one last event for this year, hence why I'm on bed rest for the week. I'm staying away in my local city for a couple of nights from Friday & have a family wedding on Saturday in the hotel I'm staying in. The hotel is actually above my favourite bookshop & I'm hoping to have some energy spare to go in & buy some books. I'm not photographing the wedding itself but I am taking my camera with me to document my stay away & of course I'll tell you all about it once I've recovered.

The week after the wedding is a quiet one for me as I don't celebrate the holidays, so in my planner every day is down as a bed rest day & hopefully by the end of the week I'll be able to move from my bed to the sofa.

So overall, this past year has been an interesting one & I've enjoyed all the good moments & learnt from & survived all the bad. I'm not into the "New Year, New You" Resolutions stuff, all I hope for the coming year is that is full of more good than bad.

I hope you are all doing as well as possible & taking care, especially if you do celebrate the holidays. Remember your health comes first & listen to your body & do what is best for you.

Photo Description: an arm in a yellow sleeve holding a tartan mug resting on knees in tartan pyjama bottoms.

I want to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to everyone of you that have taken the time to read my posts this year, I really appreciate it. I know I haven't written as much this year as other years but I'm hoping that will change in the coming year {I've already got post topics planned} If there's anything you would like me to write about or give an update on, please do leave me a comment or send me an email with your suggestions.

This is my last post for the year & I'll be back in 2019.

L x

Friday, 16 November 2018

Things To Help You Through A Rough Month

I've tried to write this post quite a few times {I'm struggling this time too} & each time I haven't been happy with it. That might have something to do with the fact that October wasn't the best of months & although I'm naturally a positive person, October has been trying on my mental state.

It's been cancelled plans, unexpected Bilateral Tendonitis & week long PEM from something I'm not even sure was actually worth it. So when the only highlight I can really think of is that I organised my clothes drawer, you can imagine writing about how the month has gone was actually bringing my mood down even more & frankly I'm over it.

So I thought that rather than focusing on all the negative, I'd focus on the few things that have helped to get through the month.

My Cats:

I am a proud Cat Mum. My cats are may kids & they are such a great source of comfort & company. We have a total of four Cats in the house, my two Tabby boys & my mum's black & white boy & girl. They are the personification of how to do "Bed Rest Days" properly - only moving for food, drink & trips to the bathroom! Plus a Cat's purr is at a frequency that can help lower stress & have a healing effect on the body - theirs & yours. They're basically little furry Doctors who always know when you're having a bad day & give you all the cuddles you need to keep you going. {Read more about these furry little doctors here}

Photo Description: Four Cats in a row on a bed. Two Black and White Cats and Two Tabby Cats.

A Familiar Book:

I love reading & especially enjoy discovering new books. However, when I'm having a difficult time, I find it a comfort to spend some time rereading a book I'm familiar with. So once I finished Hank Green's debut novel "An Absolutely Remarkable Thing"{review coming soon} I reached for an old favourite; John Green's {Hank's brother} "The Fault in our Stars". This may seem like an unusual book to read when you're struggling, but I find things about it very relatable & so over the years, it has become my go to read.

Photo Description: The book "The Fault in our Stars" by John Green

NetFlix & Rest:

I like binge watching TV shows as much as the next person but due to Sensory Overload, I don't do it often. However, due to having unexpected Bilateral Tendonitis, I was more limited than normal & one of the main ways I passed my time was to binge Seasons 1 - 11 of The Big Bang Theory. It's one of my favourite shows, along with Grey's Anatomy, all the Star Trek series & FRIENDS. I just love all the sci-fi, geeky, nerdy references & the way the guys in the show just embrace that side of themselves, makes me do the same. I'm a proud sci-fi loving, geeky, nerd!

Skin Care - Self Care:

I view my Skin Care as essential Self Care & giving your skin a lovely low energy treat when you or your skin are having a rough time can really help. I want to mention 3 products which have truly helped my poor skin this October. You see, I haven't worn make-up in about a year & then I put it on twice in October! As you can imagine, my skin had a bit of a freak out about the whole thing!

Photo Description: 3 Body Shop Product bottles in a row. One is the Vitamin E Cleanser.
One the Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil & the last one is the Tea Tree Toner.

My first Skin treat is The Body Shop's Vitamin E Cream Cleanser; It feels so lovely on the skin. It's so soothing & hydrating, which is just what my skin needed. It's quick & low energy to use as I just pop some on a cotton pad & apply it.

My second Skin treat is The Body Shop's Tea Tree Skin Clearing Mattifying Toner; While I don't have acne prone skin, this toner is my usual toner as it helps control my slightly oily areas. But over the past month, I've ended up having a few break outs {my skin just doesn't like full make up anymore!} & it's definitely been great to help clear up the break outs I've had. It does makes your skin feel tight & a little dry, which is to be expected, but your skin also feels really clean & fresh!

My third Skin treat is The Body Shop's Vitamin E Overnight Serum In Oil; This is definitely a luxury item for me but it's simply wonderful! I have been using this every other night & it's been great for healing my skin. Its helped calm down the break out I got & also helped heal a scar I had from a hormonal break out I had a couple months ago. Although this is a Serum in Oil,{combined serum & oil} it's lightweight & doesn't leave your skin greasy. It's a fabulous hit of moisture that leaves your skin feeling so soft & replenished by the morning.

So there we have it, those are few of the things that have helped me survive my rough month & made it a little easier to cope with. There have been other things, like my wonderful mum, copious cups of tea, Vegan Chocolate from Pure Heavenly, hot water bottles & cosy duvets & blankets!

What are your go to things to help you cope when you're having a rough time mentally or physically? Why not leave your suggestions in the comments so others can give them a go.

I hope you're all doing as well as possible.

Take care,

L x

Monday, 15 October 2018

Out of Order

This is a very quick update post to let you all know I'm pretty much out of order right now.

I know I said I wouldn't be posting until after my busy October anyway but thought I better give a little update of my current situation. I haven't mentioned this in my last post but, for the past few weeks I've been struggling with swollen wrists and pain down both my thumbs. After a phone appointment & then a house call from my GP, I've been told I've got Bilateral Tendonitis & basically I have to stop doing everything to rest my hands & wrists. {I'm typing this with great difficulty!}

Today, I went to the Physiotherapy department & have been given two splints to hopefully help. They're not the most comfortable things in the world to wear but they're doing their job - in that they restrict the movement of my wrists more which helps to ease the strain on my tendons.

The Physio I saw was lovely & suggested I speak to my GP & get some physio sorted out to help my wrists & tendons. It's not M.E related {it's a normal people thing} & I don't have to live with the extra pain it's causing as they can help. I've been told to not wear the splints for full days {give my wrists a break throughout the day} & to not were them at night. I've also been told to ice them for about 10 minutes a day as it can help draw out the inflammation.

I'm just hoping they'll ease off even more as the week goes on as the event I've got at the end of the month I'm hoping to photograph, but right now there's no way I can hold my camera!

So I'm off to put my splints back on & rest my hands some more. I hope everyone is as well as possible.

Take care,

L x

Monday, 1 October 2018

Hello October!

It's official October, it's officially Autumn & I'm very very happy about it! I love Autumn, it's my favourite season, followed by Winter {literally!} I'll explain why in a little bit.

Copyright Louise Elizabeth Shepherd

September isn't a bad month either, however, Summer is still trying hard to cling on to its last few days & so the weather doesn't turn more autumnal until September is coming to its end. Yesterday, the last day of September, it turned so cold here. Last night I slept under two duvets, two throws, a hot water bottle, long pj bottoms, a t-shirt, a jumper & socks! I never sleep in socks normally, I was just THAT cold! I mean I'm always cold, but yesterday it was a struggle to keep warm & stave off increasing pain levels.

So I guess that leads me on to why I love Autumn... for me it's one of the cosiest times of the year & the time of the year I finally know how to dress for the weather - I hate trying to dress for Summer, so after that struggle, especially this year with the U.K having a ridiculously long heat wave, it's such a relief to be able to dress But Autumn is all about hoodies, big knit jumpers, fluffy socks, knee high boots, blanket scarves, bobble hats, gloves... I could go on!

Oh & blankets & Hot Chocolate & having the fire on.... okay I'll stop now...

{I will say the things listed, I have in my life all year round, but most of them become more acceptable once Autumn comes round again - I have had funny looks wearing my boots during Summer months before!}

Summer seems to be all about the flowers but in Autumn, the trees take centre stage & have their moment to shine! Don't get me wrong, I love flowers & have spent a few times this Summer photographing them but I love love love the colour changes of the leaves on the trees when Autumn comes - those rich red, yellows & oranges just makes my heart so happy! I think that's one of the reasons why I'm so glad we have a Japanese Maple in the garden, as it's Summer colours are a spectacular red!

Copyright Louise Elizabeth Shepherd

Okay time to stop gushing about Autumn. Let's get back to the point of this post... actually I don't think I have a point to this, other than to just get some things out of my head. While I love October & Autumn {as shown above} this October is a busy one by chronic illness standards & I'm trying so very hard to not panic about it. I actually decided last night, while filling my dosset box, to put myself back on Kalms for the month to help steady my anxiety {I don't take them all the time, only when my anxiety is really bad}

I was recently sorting bills & filling my planner for the next month, you know boring adult things, & I realised I actually have at least one thing to do each week in October! {queue panicking feeling!} Now they all vary in their energy requirements & therefore will vary in their degree of Post Excursion Malaise:

  • Two of them {one this week, one in two weeks} I don't have to leave the house for {one is a phone appointment, the other is a 6 weekly occurring appointment} but one of those will take a bit more energy than the other. 
The other three I have to leave the house for, so will require more energy & will have more of an impact on my health.

  • One of them {next week} is a monthly appointment & doesn't cause me too much payback thankfully.
  • The first activity I have planned {this week} will take a good amount of energy, but it's going to be a lovely activity & while there is some PEM anxiety, I am looking forward to this one.
  • The last activity in my planner, at the end of October, is big! It means more more travel, being around lots of people & getting dressed up. The before leaving the house part to this will take a lot of energy & then I have to actually get to the place & be a social little person for an hour or so. This is the one that right now, I'm trying not to think about & as it's at the end of the month, I have a nice amount of time to prepare.

Apart from pottering around the house, I am going to be doing anything else, which is why I think I wanted to post something on here, as writing does take energy, mental energy, but still it has an impact. So I'm going to try & use my "free" days wisely & will spend most of them in bed or may be on the sofa curled up under my duvet, just so I have a change of scenery. apart from this week when I'm going out & then have a phone appointment the next day, I've made sure that the days following the activities as free so I can be in bed when the PEM strikes & it will strike!

Thinking about it, I guess this post is a nice follow on from my previous post Photographs & Souvenirs & how the payback can make you question if what you do is actually worth the worsening of your symptoms. Since two of the things I've got going on are monthly & 6 weekly appointments, not photos are necessary, I'm hoping my phone appointment will yield good results - which I may share on the Instagram. But the first activity & the last activity, I will definitely try to at least take some photographs of while I'm out, so I can have a visual reminder of how worth it the pain I'll be in was!

I'm going to finish this kinda pointless, rambling, post here I think. I've got some professional poorly person required form filling in to do after lunch & my already swollen wrist is beginning to ache due to typing a bit too long. I'm just thankful its my right wrist & I'm left handed as there's a deadline to this form being posted!

I hope you're all as well as can be & taking there. Positive thoughts are very much appreciated for the rest of the month & once I've recovered, I'll give write an update on how it all went & my little poorly body coped.

L x

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Photographs & Souvenoirs

Before I get into the topic of this post, I just want to say that I'm in no way a materialistic person & I'm not going to encourage that in anyone else. There are far more important aspects of life than just accumulating things. But in this case, souvenirs can be a good mental health boost when dealing with this aspect of chronic illness life.

When you have a chronic illness like Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, every single thing you do has a negative impact on your health. No matter the activity you want to do, you have to factor in the fact that you will worsen a whole host of your symptoms, if not all of them. This is called Post Excursion Malaise & I'm sure I've spoken about it in past posts. I refer to PEM as the "Joy Stealer" as you feel so utterly ill that you begin to question if what you did was really worth it, as now you're having to spend a week in bed feeling like death warmed up & like you've ingested lead piping because your body feels so heavy!

It's at these moments when having something to look back on, related to the activity that caused your PEM, can have such positive impact on your mental health. Personally, PEM can often bring on my depression & make me question if the activity was worth it, even though I've decided it is before even doing it.

Depending on the type of outing/activity I'm doing will depend on what I have to remember it by. I usually have my camera with me wherever I go, so I will often have photographs to look back over. This is especially the case if I'm only well enough to go in the car for a drive with my lovely mum. I will take photos along our road trip & then look back over them when I'm back in bed recovering.

On the times I feel well enough to actually stop & get out of the car, I will usually try & buy a little something as a memento, depending on the place we may go to. I find a mug, a bookmark or even a soft toy make nice little reminders & a mug or bookmark come in handy as well, since I live off tea & read a lot of books!

Before I become severely ill & my level of activity limited, I would of course go shopping or bring a little something home from a day out along with photographs of said outing. However, I wouldn't always bring something home & I wouldn't always take photos, it wasn't really necessary as I could always go back to the place I'd been at a later date.

Then things changed & planning, pacing, & deciding what things are worth my energy became my norm. Now having that little trinket to show for the energy I've spent & the reason I'm now in bed in agony for days has much more meaning & importance. I actually didn't realise how important & positive this seemly little act of bringing something home was, until I went somewhere & returned with nothing, not even a photo to show for the PEM I was then experiencing. Pain & exhaustion were clouding my mind & I had to keep reminding myself that it was worth it & I had a nice time.

It was then that I realised how important it is to have something, either photographs or something else to remind you of the time you managed to spend out of the house. I know people reading this are probably thinking "erm you have this thing called a memory!" & while sure I can lie in bed & use my memory to remember how lovely the day was. "Healthy" me did this often...

In reality, my memory has been effected by the M.E, my short term memory isn't great, I frequently forget to take my medication, which is something I do 6 times a day, 7 days a week. My long term memory is even worse, I can only remember small snippets of my childhood. Then there's times when I completely surprise myself & remember some unimportant fact from out of nowhere! Now add in the effects of PEM & my memory worsens even more as the hit by a truck, hangover feeling takes over.

Imagine feeling like that & then try to remember what you did the day before - it's not so easy. Therefore, having something to look at or physically touch, really can help keep you focused on the positive & remind you that what sent you to your bed with worsening symptoms was really worth it.

So if any of my fellow M.E sufferings or anyone dealing with chronic illness in general,  find you deal with worsening symptoms after activity, I really do recommend trying to either document your activity, even if it's going to the doctors or the hospital, by taking a photo/s or bringing home a little souvenir to remind you that what you did, really was worth the energy & worsening symptoms for the days/weeks to come.

Take care,

L x