Oct 262015
 

 

I’ve received lots of emails about this recently and it’s a recurring theme of conversation with my coaching clients, and so I just thought I’d put my thoughts into a post.

Along with all of these lovely choice phrases, “Why are you so lazy?” or words to that effect, might have been aimed at your recently or during your illness. This hurts…I mean, really, really stings.

Up until about x-days/weeks/months/years ago, you had it all figured out. You had a job/income, you had some form of social life, you were frequently in touch with your family and friends, you could string a sentence together and things were generally pretty good. But now you can’t move- you can’t remember the last time you opened the curtains (never mind went outside), you feel incredibly guilty for not bringing in a salary and you feel as if your friends can’t be bothered with you any more. Now, to top it all off, you’ve got people thinking you’re lazy when you have CFS!

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Photo taken from here

Ooooh yep, I hear ya! I’ve had this and all you want to do is scream and shout, and let them know what’s really going on. You’ve told them over and over, but they still don’t get it. Luckily, there are some things you can do to make everything a little bit smoother for yourself and others.

Show them this article. If they still haven’t changed their tune, show them this one or this one. If you still don’t get a flinch out of them after this, ask yourself some serious questions.

+ Know that if you were going to invent an illness, CFS/ME would be it. It’s almost like a crazy junior school Biology project:

Teacher: “Ok, everyone- settle down. Now what I want you to do is work in groups and invent an illness. You must describe it and then present it in front of the class. You have 10 minutes- off you go!”

Student 1: “I know! How about something where you sleep for, like, 22 hours a day- like Sleeping Beauty!!”

Student 2: “Yeah, and you can’t go to work because you’re too busy sleeping and lying in bed and people have to feed you and stuff?!”

Everyone in group: “Yeah, that sounds amazing!!”

See the humour in it- it might just get you through those “I really want to break your arm right now (if I had the energy)” kind of moments.

The dictionary definition of ‘lazy’ is: “averse or disinclined to work, activity, or exertion; indolent.” I have never, EVER met anyone with CFS/ME who is lazy. Most of the people I’ve spoken to are Type A Personality people and we do not do lazy. Perfectionist, yes. Lazy? Nooooo. People relapse with CFS precisely because they are not lazy- that’s half our trouble. We want to contribute to the world, to our lives, and so we push on and then make ourselves worse. Don’t you dare talk to me about laziness….! (Sorry, rant over!)

+ Understand at a cellular level that there is absolutely no way they can understand what you’re going through. No way. People can empathise, but they’ll only know it if they’ve been through it themselves. This might make you feel lonely or disconnected from everyone for a while, but it’s only temporary. Know that they just want to see you better, healthy and happy- ask for their help, even though they don’t understand this craziness. You look fine, so of course, they’re a bit confused (I remember wishing I could’ve broken my arm or something instead of having CFS- at least people can physically see there’s something wrong with you, right?)

+ You are still you. You are still you. You as a person and a beautiful soul have not changed. Your body is just taking some time out, because it needs it. Once you know who you are, and really know it and own it, those lazy comments will bounce right off you.

Smile, suck it up for a bit longer and know ultimately that these comments will stop. People will see how sick you are, not lazy, and will want to help in any way they can. Show them this website, point them to my Facebook page and show people that you’re not the only one going through this ‘laziness epidemic’.

I’d love to hear your comments below- have you ever been accused of being lazy?

Love, not laziness,

Katie    xxx

Sep 152015
 

This post is inspired by the beautiful and revolutionary Danielle LaPorte.

love letterPicture taken from here

A Letter to Chronic Fatigue

Dear CFS, the Love of my life,

You’ve been with me through thick and thin, through good times and some incredibly bad times. I know you’ve been feeling that this was going to happen for a while, but I’m sorry to say that now that time has come. The time has come for me to thank you for all the blessings you have given me and for all the great, great lessons you’ve taught me. You will never know how grateful I am to you for all that you have given me.

You’ve made me scared, frightened, fearful and sick with worry.

You’ve made me feel hopeless, desperate and ashamed.

You’ve made me ache, made my writhe in pain, made me stay up all night, made me sleep until it’s impossible to sleep any more.

You’ve made me doubt myself, doubt my life, doubt my relationships.

You’ve made the possible impossible; the easy, mind-bendingly difficult; the ordinary, an extraordinary task.

But…

You’ve made me listen to the birds again.

You’ve made me watch and listen to the rustle of the tress once more.

You’ve made me realise that I’m pretty unique and goofy, and that’s ok.

You’ve made me appreciate the little things.

You’ve made me cry with gratitude at another day, another opportunity to live life.

You’ve made to give thanks for my amazing fiancé, supportive family and super friends.

You’ve made me realise that my life is here as a gift, and it’s mine to give in the most loving way I can to others, and to myself.

You’ve made me realise I am limitless. I am boundless. I am free.

 

That this world is worth the wait.

 

That people need my gifts.

 

That life is beautiful and glowingly sacred.

 

I am strong because of you. I am in love because of you. I am vulnerable because of you. I am myself because of you.

 

For that, my dear friend, I will always be truly grateful.

 

In love and abundant gratitude,

Katie     xx

Finding M.E.

Aug 162015
 

 

Over the last few weeks and even as I sit here writing this today, change and the realisation that I might  be frightened of change has been staring me right in the face. Even when I’m not looking for it, it keeps on popping up- in blogs posts, in articles on the internet, in my yoga practice, everywhere. Actually, I tell a lie, it hasn’t really been following me around- I’ve been open to accepting it into my life a lot more. This has highlighted where my limitations are- it’s incredibly uncomfortable, but I feel like I’m growing (such a beautiful feeling!) As much as we want to hold onto things around us and certain situations, the world around us and therefore our worlds are in constant, gentle flux.

When you’re ill with something like CFS for so long, there are moments when you’re going to want to play it safe (as in, pretty much most of the time). Who would want to go through relapse and the agony of starting at square one again, right? It’s embarrassing, uncomfortable and it feels like there’s now way out. You’re completely stuck and you’re pushed to the very limits of what you can handle and what you can’t…

…at least that’s what I thought for a while before I hopped on board the change wagon. Once you’re on, it becomes pretty impossible to get off.

This week, I’ve gone gluten-free and ramped up my yoga practice (I seem to have accidentally fallen in love with it, even though I wasn’t particularly mad on it before) Next week, more of the same, more reading, more catching up with friends after being a slight hermit (I blame Australian winters!) and less playing it small.

Would it really be so bad if you bought an audiobook that could change you life and committed to listening to it, instead of just buying it and putting it on the back-burner like you did last time? What’s the worst that could happen? You don’t like what they have to say and switch it off. Nobody got hurt, you saved face and at least you took the first step and tried.

Maybe you want to ditch the coffee and try a green smoothie? Honestly, it’s a completely no-brainer. You don’t have to like it, but you just might. They look disgusting, but they taste pretty flippin’ good, let me tell you.

No marathon running, no switching to a vegan diet overnight- just play it softly. Shift softly. The reality is, you can think about change until you’re blue in the face, but at the end of the day, you’ll still be where you are unless to make the change.

That’s all there is to it. Just try. Be courageous.

(These suggestions probably sound really patronising, but honestly, there was a time in my life when I was so scared of change and of doing something differently, of thinking about things a different way, that I became really, really stuck. Changing my diet or choosing to read different books were terrifying to me at the time. I would hate for the same thing to happen to you.)

Ask someone for help if you’re unsure. They’ll cheer you on as much as they can, with every fiber of their being, trust me. Ask me for help if you’re a bit lost and absolutely friggin’ petrified.  I’ve got you. We’ve got you. You’ve got you.

I just want to leave you with this picture below, which really got me choked a few days ago.

If you want to change, you have to come unstuck.

change picture

Picture and design by the beautiful freshbysian.com

What change can you make today?

Love and evolving,

Katie     xxx

Aug 042015
 

 

As many of you have read in my recovery story, my life as the typical Type-A personality career girl I was destined to be turned out to be completely different from anything I could every imagine. … I just need to stop and pause for a while after writing this- the difference between who I am now and who I was then is just so staggering. Wow.

candleImage taken from here

Having spoken to some of you on a one-to-one basis and having experienced all this myself, many of you are probably wondering how to move on from the past and how to cope with losing who you once were. Your body and mind want to hang on to what they know is safe- they want you to stay small, keep you in a bubble and protect you from more pain, and to be honest, when you’re feeling so vulnerable, feeling protected and secure is often what you instinctively want to do. You know what happened in the past, and you managed to get through it, so it’s comforting just to think about it some more. I know why it’s so difficult- in all honesty, you don’t really want to let go. There’s a vain glimmer of hope somewhere at the back of your mind that if you just keep thinking about what life was like before that you’ll somehow be able to relive it. That the sights, smells, colours and natural physical vitality you once felt come flooding back to you almost as quickly as you became sick, and you’ll wake up from this horrible nightmare that’s swallowed you and your life.

Acknowledging the Changes

My first realisation that I have to grieve some parts of my life wasn’t when I went to hospital, or was clawing along the walls trying to make it to the bathroom as you might think- it was when I came home just before Christmas and I had to deal with my school friends. We’d all just gone our separate ways to start University and the inevitable ‘I haven’t seen you for 3 months- isn’t Uni amazing?!’ pub meet-up had been in the calendar for months. My friends got in touch with me, not knowing I’d been ill, to arrange this night out. Thinking I just had the flu, they kept ringing me over the next few days. The calls then became sporadic ‘what’s the point, you’re probably not coming anyway’ texts…and then they just stopped altogether. Forever…

I was hurt, I mean really hurt. It wouldn’t have killed them to come and see me- I mean, it wasn’t like I was going anywhere, right? This really upset me for a few days, but one day, after I had no more tears left, I just melted into acceptance. How could they even begin to know what was going on with me? How could I even entertain having them in my life when I’m so ill? It’s not their fault- they did try to involve me. This had to be someone’s way of letting me know that I just need to be alone for a while.

Losing my friends and ‘grieving this loss’ however was just the first thing I had to let go of and forgive myself and the circumstances for. I came to grieve the loss of my freshers year at Uni, the loss of my physical strength and enjoyment of exercising, the loss of my thoughts which were seemingly always being carried away by someone else (they can’t have been thoughts that belonged to me.) I had to mourn the loss of my dream career, the loss of my independence, the loss of choice, fun and spontaneity, and more importantly, the loss of life.

Changing Emotions

I went through a period of being beyond angry- I just could not accept that things were going to be this way. I had to ‘wake-up’ from this soon, surely? I was angry with my parents, when all they’d done was care for me and made sure I was ok. I was angry with my friends for having abandoned me and for living out their Uni years in the way that I should’ve been.

I was angry with this stupid, stupid illness, but most of all, I was cripplingly angry with myself.

How to Accept Changes

Forgiveness became a vital part of my acceptance process- I have done a lot of forgiveness work, and I mean, a lot. It doesn’t have to be hard or dark or emotionally fraught. For me in fact, I always felt incredible lightness and clarity after doing it. It’s not the type of thing that can just be done or said once (there’s a lot of emotion to wade through), but it gets easier. You don’t feel as though you’re carrying so much anger around in your body, you might notice that you get in an extra half an hour of sleep than you normally would or just feel ‘different’.

After this comes the acceptance part. Oooooh boy. This is not easy, especially when every instinct in your body tells you that all you have to do is get on with things and you’ll snap out of it any day now. You want to get more medication, do more exercise and get on with your 9-5 careers- anything to show your body who’s in charge and that you’re really not that sick, honestly. But the truth is, as you probably know already, that this is the fastest way to relapse I know and shows that you’re really not listening to your body.

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Image taken from here

So, how can you move through all this?

Go easy on yourself. Write one of these. Do this. And this. Have fun. Love being in bed- you certainly won’t be able to do this as much when you’re healed and running around like a lunatic. Make friends with your illness- understand it and be kind to it. Be completely indulgent and go gaga for self-love.

Please know that for every little thing you have to lose, get angry with, forgive, accept and move on from, that there is something else bigger, more beautiful and more dazzling waiting for us at the other end. It cannot be any other way. For every tear, there’s a smile just waiting. For every heartache, there’s something just around the corner that’ll make your heart burst with joy. For every missed opportunity, there’s another one with your name engraved onto it in huge gold letters. For every ying, there’s a yang- this is how our world is balanced and maintained.

Think about how flippin’ great it’s all going to be. It doesn’t have to be great right now, but trust that one day it will be, and more than you could ever possibly know. More than I could ever possibly put into words or convey to you. There’s just love and it’s all for you.

Turn your loss into your greatest teacher and your heartache into outrageous courage.

Love and patience,

Katie   xx

Jul 222015
 

 

To round off this amazing week of chakra exploration, I just thought I’d go through each of the chakras and give you all some insights as to what I uncovered about my emotions and the symptoms I was feeling in my body. When I started exploring energetic healing, I was about 85% of the way to full health, but the work I did through energetic healing, together with some really uncomfortable, sometimes confronting personal work, brought me up to 100% and beyond. Energetic healing would bring me up to about 90% on the days I had it, but I had to go the other 10% of it on my own. I’m still learning about the mind-body connection everyday, but am so pleased to know intuitively that I am healed of CFS and that it’s never coming back.

chakra

Image taken from here

Let me go through each chakra individually and see if anything resonates with you.

Chronic Fatigue and Chakras

Root Chakra (Chakra 1 / Red) – Represents feeling ‘rooted’ or grounded, represent our foundation and stability

Although I always felt as though I was someone who had both feet firmly planted on the ground, I realised very quickly that my root chakra wasn’t reflecting this belief. There were a few things behind this imbalance. When as I was ill with CFS and when I would relapse, I was constantly worried about money. Even though I was incredibly lucky to be supported during my illness, I was always petrified that one day, the rug would be pulled out from under me and that I’d have to force myself into work for security and stability. If you’d seen me back then, you’d know that there was no way I was well enough to do this, so I had to change my thinking.

Instead of being petrified that the money was going to run out, I decided to be grateful for the money we had and that I was fortunate enough to be looked after. I trusted that the money would appear and that the universe would provide security, strength and stability for me. Meditation and yoga have really, really helped me with this.

Sacral Chakra (Chakra Two / Orange) – Represents creativity, sex and your ability to accept new relationships/situations into your life

I’ve always been an incredibly creative person. I come from a long line of fiercely creative and independent people, so I figured that my sacral chakra would be fine. The truth is, this is often my most troublesome chakra, and it still is when I go for treatments today.

My creative outlet used to come through music- singing, playing the piano, improvising, absolutely anything related to music and I was there. However, after I made certain decisions in my life, this area kind of shut down- I had minimal creative expression, and we all need this to remember the playfulness and joy in our lives. This translated through hormonal imbalances and incredibly painful periods. I also found that I wasn’t as adventurous or open-minded as I had been and that accepting new perspectives or opinions in my life was incredibly difficult. After energetic healing however, I found that I was able to open my heart and thoughts a bit more, and was therefore able to sing again, and enjoy the process without hanging on to the outcome or worrying about what others thought of me.

Solar Plexus (Chakra Three / Yellow) – Represents confidence, thoughts and feelings, and our ability to be in control of our lives

When I’ve spoken to healers and therapists, they’ve said that everyone has chakra 3 issues. When I was very ill, I wasn’t really eating so much, so my 3rd chakra was completely undernourished. Even when my diet improved, I still found that I had digestive issues and that I’d often have an upset stomach.

The 3rd chakra is our seat of power. It takes in all our nourishment and therefore keeps our immune system and our bodily functions strong and in working order. If our solar plexus chakra is out, we know immediately because there’s something not quite right with our digestive system. I also noticed my stomach was bloated and upset when I was going through stress or an emotional time, as if my body was not ‘digesting’ new information or new situations properly. Your liver also forms part of the 3rd chakra system, so the fact that I was holding lots of anger meant that my liver wasn’t always functioning and detoxing as well as it should (having jaundice after glandular fever when I was 21 was a huge indicator that chakra 3 was out of whack!)

If you’re having digestive issues, ask yourself whether there’s anything in your life you still need to accept. Are you still struggling your way through your illness and putting up a fight?

Heart Chakra (Chakra 4 – Green) – Represents our ability to love and be loved, to enjoy what we love

Having always thought that I had time for others and that I was an outgoing, bubbly person, I was incredibly surprised to find that my heart, to a certain extent, was blocked through anxieties and stresses I had gone through in the past. Surely after years of questioning and trying to live my life it would be ok by now?

Sadly not, as I’d been keeping my heart closed to avoid getting hurt again, to protect myself and to avoid diving into anything I loved, just in case it was taken away from me. It was safer that way, no? Even though, I was head-over-heels in love, this was the only glimmer of green light shining through my heart chakra. The pains I used to get between my shoulder blades was the back of my heart trying to heal (honestly, when was the last time you thought about the back of your heart?!)

The heart is a powerful, beautiful energy centre that keeps us going, pumps blood round our body and keeps us in the now. When we’re excited, our hearts jump- when we’re nervous, our hearts go into override. Our hearts intuitively know all.

Throat Chakra (Chakra 5 – Blue) – Represents our ability to communicate clearly and to speak our truth

Throat chakra + stifled passion for singing = major 5th chakra issues!

Aside from not singing as much as my soul or spirit would like me to, lots of forgotten throat chakra issues made themselves known to me during my sessions. When I was explaining past experiences, my throat would clam up, go dry and I’d cough like a mad woman. I had trouble admitting that I wasn’t ok, and that everything hadn’t been going as well as I’d let everyone believe. I was very much brought up to believe that parents were hugely important (which of course they are!), and I saw my parents as authority figures to be obeyed for a lot of my life, rather than realising they were family and just wanted the best for me. I found it to incredibly difficult to speak up, often not even bothering because I didn’t want to argue, or I knew what their answer would be.

Although this didn’t manifest physically, I felt deflated, alone and unheard, like my opinions and thoughts counted for nothing. Where in your life do you know you should speak up and get honest? Are you really being heard by others?

Third Eye Chakra (Chakra 6 – Indigo) – Represents our ability to see the big picture, inner knowing, insight and vision

I think out of all 7 chakras, this is the one that I’m having a great relationship with at the moment and that I’m coming to trust more and more. Over the last few years, I’ve become very intuitive and seem to have an ability to read between the lines. I’ll often the hint that what someone’s saying isn’t exactly what’s going or that there’s more to the story than meets the eye.

This can, however, by a bad thing, especially if you’re feeling vulnerable, paranoid and you’re really concerned about what others think of you. In my younger years, I’m sure my third eye chakra was completely overactive- I worried so much about what others thought of me and seemed to suffer a lot from Impostor Syndrome, especially when I first started my working life.

I am now much more secure in my feeling sense and in my emotional intelligence, and see it as a gift rather than as something I have to dumb down or keep quiet about. I’m absolutely intrigued to see where my 6th chakra takes me- woohoo!

Crown Chakra (Chakra 7 – Violet) – Represents our ability to connect fully with our spiritual selves

Up until about 4 years ago, I had no interest in spirituality, yoga, self-knowledge or exploring our place in the universe. I was brought up Catholic and went to church, well, religiously(!), but decided at the age of 16 that there were things that I had to figure out for myself. Chakra 7 has been my constant guide and companion now for the last 4 years and I’m completely in awe of it. Having forgotten about it, or not accepted it for so long, getting to know it is a constant thrill and learning journey. I love knowing what the universe throws into play and what I’m guided to do and seek on a daily basis. I know therefore, that my crown chakra is balanced, clear and in working order. This is not to say that it always is, but I’m very easily able to bring myself back into my innate spirituality and accept the messages and gifts the Divine has for me.

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So, there we have it! The last in this week’s series of chakra posts! I really hope you’ve enjoyed them my darling. Chakras and the whole realm of energetic healing are a constant sources of fascination for me and I learn something new about them whenever I dive into another book or article. Consider working with the chakras and incorporating this knowledge into your own life- it doesn’t involve huge changes or financial sacrifices, and who knows what you’ll discover?!

Love and energetic healing,

Katie      xx

My favourite chakra cleanse meditationbelinda davidson

Jul 152015
 

 

It’s been a while since I’ve put a vlog together for you all, so I thought I’d talk about a topic which a lot of you seem to mention at the moment, which is…… guilt. Guilt and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome from my experience go hand-in-hand.

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I can see you all nodding your head already…well, take a look at the video my lovely. I hope there’s something in it that resonates with you. Make sure you do your homework!

If guilt is an issue for you, please take a look at these other posts:

I’d love to hear your comments below- how does your illness make your feel guilty? Did your homework bring up any issues for you? I’m ready for you all, with a big hug and mug of tea!

Love and zero guilt,

Katie     xx

Jul 152015
 

I’ve never considered myself to be a dishonest person. I’ve never told lies, and I don’t make a habit of it. When you look at the concept of honesty really closely, you’ll see that for most people, it means not being dishonest with other people. You don’t want to upset or disappoint someone else, you want to cover up for the fact that you don’t want to do something, you make over-elaborate excuses. Everyone does it and society, unfortunately, is full of it.

But have you ever stopped and thought about how honest you’re being with yourself? As ‘woo-woo’ as it sounds, this was one of the hardest things for me to deal with and it still challenges me every day. Having said that, getting honest with yourself in CFS is one of the most liberating stages on your journey.

TypographicFolio-14

Picture taken from here

I’ve always been incredibly independent, fiercely and stubbornly so, so having to move back in with my parents when I was 18 after my diagnosis was beyond all comprehension at the time. It was embarrassing, irritating and made me feel so small and defeated. My parents are two of the most wonderful people in the world, but taking this huge step was such a blow for me. Being reliant on them was even worse.

When I felt strong enough to go out, or even just go to the supermarket with my parents, I saw it as a huge achievement. I’d made it, there was no going back. I’d get stronger every day and then I’d be back to normal…until I woke up the morning realising that all my energy had been zapped in that one afternoon, leaving me with an empty tank once more. I know you know what I’m talking about- you want to use the slightest amount of energy when you’ve got it, not build up your reserves and take your time. Here is where I had to get really honest with myself. I had to pace it. I had to reserve my energy and work with it. I had to have faith.

This was a very long process. I’ve lost count of the number of times I said I was feeling fine to do something, when in fact I knew I was going to regret it the next day. My body begged me not to bother this time, but just to wait a day or two.

Here’s the thing. You have to honour yourself and be honest with yourself, especially in the early stages of recovery. You owe it to yourself and your life. If you know that saying ‘yes’ to the girly shopping trip (hours of walking  and waiting around, chatting, trying on clothes) will leave you feel wiped out the next day, ask yourself if you should really do it. This doesn’t mean abandoning meeting people all together. Maybe you could meet for a lovely green juice in a cafe in the morning, and then let them get on with it. It’s heartbreaking, I know, but even more heartbreaking is the ultimate realisation that you are not looking after or honouring the most important being in your life. You.

There’ll never be another one. You. Are. Essential. You. Are. Divine.

I still struggle with this today, and have made many mistakes by letting my ego get the better of me. I’ve taken full-time jobs when I knew deep down that I wouldn’t be able to handle it and would barely be able to manage part-time. I’ve come home exhausted and barely able to speak, knowing that I should’ve listened to the warning signs and not gone to meet people after work. These actions were usually generated by what other people might/might not think of me if I did/didn’t do something. Dishonesty is a form of fear, and man, was I frightened. Just remember, the people that matter will only care about you and want what’s best for you.

You have to be honest with yourself so you can be honest with others. 

I’m still working on this, and it’s hard and humiliating, but ultimately humbling. You need to prioritise yourself. I used to be terrible at this, but I’m getting a little better, day by day.

Love your vulnerability. Love being true to yourself. Let everything else fall away.

You.

Love-yourself-first1

Picture taken from here

Love and sincerity,

Katie   x

Jul 102015
 
brain fog

 

The whole concept of Brain Fog really touches a nerve with me. I’ve never felt so weak and powerless as when I was having a ‘Brain Fog Day’. I felt as is everything I’d ever learned at school had somehow vanished and that all my brain cells had magically disappeared. I felt like a complete idiot- why am I getting my words mixed up? Why can’t I concentrate for 2 minutes? How do I treat Brain Fog? Even if your body is having a good day, you can often be left with this horrible, numb feeling in your head. For me, it felt like there was a big heavy grey cloud around my brain, that’s the only way I can describe it.

brain fog

Photograph taken from here

What causes Brain Fog?

Although the exact causes are unknown, contributing factors include:

  • A lack of sleep or disruptions to your sleep cycle
  • If you’re experiencing pain, you might be mentally distracted by this for a prolonged period, which triggers a ‘numb’ feeling
  • Abnormal blood flow to the head
  • Depression
  • Interactions with medication

What are the Symptoms of Brain Fog?

For anyone who isn’t clear on what Brain Fog is, some of the symptoms include:

  • Becoming easily confused
  • Lack of ability to concentrate
  • Lack of ability to multi-task due to lack of concentration
  • Inability to recall words during a sentence (this was the main one for me!), forgetting why you started the sentence or mixing words around and not noticing
  • Short term memory problems
  • Inability to carry out simple calculations or mathematical problems
  • Losing things and not being able to find them, as you usually would
  • Becoming easily lost and disoriented in places you usually know well

Brain Fog generally tends to get worse when you are anxious, worried, rushed or dealing with too much information at once. It can also occur when you’re dealing with sensory overload, for example, too many bright lights or too much noise. I used to get completely overwhelmed in shopping centres and supermarkets, and would feel panicky and closed in. Once this had happened a few times, my parents knew to only offer to take me shopping to get me out of the house if they knew it was going to be quiet.

Help! I’m fed up of this! How can I Treat Brain Fog?

Luckily there are some things you can do to treat brain fog and go easy on yourself if you wake up and realise you’re having a ‘Brain Fog Day':

  1. Recognise that today is a Brain Fog Day and sink into it. Don’t try and fight it, relax into it and let it go. Work within your limits, take regular time out and don’t get mad at yourself. Be patient and keep things simple. If you have to, tell people you’re having ‘one of those days’- they’ll appreciate and respect your honesty.
  2. Drink as much fresh, filtered (if possible) water as you can. Sometimes, you might just be dehydrated. I constantly forgot to drink enough water when I was ill, it just seemed like too much effort. Water is incredibly important for our brain and bodies. You need to stay hydrated before you are thirsty- by the time you feel thirsty, it’s too late.
  3. Avoid caffeine or energy drinks. It’s so tempting to just grab a coffee to alleviate Brain Fog and feeling tired, even just for a moment, but you’ll feel worse later on, and maybe even into the next day. Do it gradually, don’t go cold turkey all at once, but cutting out caffeine was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
  4. Get enough sleep. Sleeping for at least 8 hours is crucial. However, and I know this is so difficult to keep to if you’ve got CFS, don’t sleep too much or rely too much on sleeping tablets. You don’t want to do anything that’ll make you feel more Brain Fog the next day. Read this article for more bedtime tips.
  5. Eat a nutritious diet, or if your appetite is a bit patchy, take a good multivitamin. Juices and smoothies can also really help when your appetite isn’t there, as well as these easy recipes. Your brain and body function on the nutrients you give it- let them thrive!

I hope these tips help you in some way. I know how terrible Brain Fog can feel and how much of a step back you think you’ve taken when you’re feeling like this. Know this this is your body’s way of healing and respect what it’s telling you. Once you accept this, you Brain Fog will lift as quickly as it arrived.

Love and lucidity,

Katie     xxx

 

Jun 252015
 

 

So, you know what and where the chakras are and where some imbalances might be, shown through your emotions or in physical symptoms and sensitivities. But now we’re going to move on to how to heal and balance chakras.

chakra flower

Image taken from here

Healing the Individual Chakras

Luckily, there are some very simple things you can do, and they don’t have to cost the earth. Many of them are free and you won’t have to move a muscle! Read on for some things you can do to balance each chakra and some general things you can do to align your chakras on a regular basis:

Root Chakra (Chakra 1 / Red) – Represents feeling ‘rooted’ or grounded, represent our foundation and stability

Ways to Heal This Chakra:

  • Walk around barefoot as much as you can
  • Eat red foods such as strawberries, tomatoes, red peppers (capsicums), beetroot and add spices to your diet
  • Set up a savings plan if you’re worried about finances
  • Dance. Dance like nobody’s watching (be sure to move your hips!)
  • Visualise red pouring into the area around your root chakra

Essential Oils: Cedar, Clove, Myrrh

Crystals: Bloodstone, Ruby, Garnet, Agate, Smoky Quartz, Hematite

Sacral Chakra (Chakra Two / Orange) – Represents creativity, sex and your ability to accept new relationships/situations into your life

Ways to Heal This Chakra:

  • Eat orange-coloured foods, such as carrots, oranges and capsicums
  • Be gentle and kind to yourself
  • Have a long bath with lots of gorgeous bath oil and candles
  • Watch some romantic movies (alone or with someone else!)
  • Celebrate the little achievements in life
  • Visualise orange pouring into this chakra

Essential Oils: Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang

Crystals: Moonstone, Carnelian

Solar Plexus (Chakra Three / Yellow) – Represents confidence, thoughts and feelings, and our ability to be in control of our lives

Ways to Heal This Chakra:

  • Get outside into the sun
  • Eat yellow foods, such as corn
  • Drink camomile tea
  • Be aware of who you spend time with (make sure they love and appreciate you)
  • Catch yourself if you talk about yourself badly
  • Visualise yellow pouring into this chakra

Essential Oils: Camomile, lemon

Crystals: Tiger’s Eye, Amber, Citrine

Heart Chakra (Chakra 4 – Green) – Represents our ability to love and be loved, to enjoy what we love

Ways to Heal This Chakra:

  • Schedule in regular time to do something you love, just for you, and commit to it- don’t make excuses!
  • Listen and speak to others with an open heart; be generous and loving
  • Follow your dreams and desires
  • Eat green foods, such as leafy greens, green apples and avocados; drink green tea and green smoothies/juices
  • Visualise green pouring into this chakra

Essential Oils: Rose, Bergamot

Crystals: Emerald, Green Jade, Rose Quartz

Throat Chakra (Chakra 5 – Blue) – Represents our ability to communicate clearly and to speak our truth

Ways to Heal This Chakra:

  • Sing wherever and whenever you can- in the shower, in your car, while you’re drying your hair (my personal favourite!)
  • Be open and honest with those around you
  • Say ‘no’ kindly, but firmly
  • Shine love onto authority figures you have trouble speaking with
  • Visualise blue pouring into this chakra

Essential Oils: Lavender, Sage, Neroli

Crystals: Turquoise, Aquamarine

Third Eye Chakra (Chakra 6 – Indigo) – Represents our ability to see the big picture, inner knowing, insight and vision

Ways to Heal This Chakra:

  • Begin to listen more closely in to conversations- are there any hidden messages?
  • Try to feeling the energetic vibration of those around you- are they feeling positive or negative?
  • Praise yourself every time you intuit something and guess it right
  • Visualise indigo pouring into this chakra

Essential Oils: Jasmine, Vetiver, Patchouli, Basil, Rosemary

Crystals: Lapis Lazuli, Sodalite

Crown Chakra (Chakra 7 – Violet) – Represents our ability to connect fully with our spiritual selves

Ways to Heal This Chakra:

Essential Oils: Frankincense, olibanum

Crystals: Amethyst, Alexandrite

healing

Image taken from here

Healing the Chakra System as a Whole

  • Belinda Davidson’s ‘Chakra Cleanse for Busy People’ is my go-to meditation for healing the system as a whole. It is so thorough and I really notice a difference when I don’t do it.
  • Use chakra healing meditations to help you- click here for more information and links
  • Close your eyes and visualise each colour individually over the associated areas. start with the root chakra, and go through all the colours until you reach the crown chakra. You can visualise yourself in a ball of white light to finally balance your chakras.
  • Move your body when you can- yoga is fantastic for aligning the chakras, especially kundalini yoga
  • book yourself in for a massage, Reiki, Energetic Healing or AcuEnergetics session

So, there we have it my darlings- I really, really hope this helps you. Please let me know if you have any questions- it might all seem a bit complicated, but once you become aware of the chakras and how they work, you’ll be able to heal them easily and intuitively.

Love and healing,

Katie     xxx

belinda davidsonMy favourite chakra meditation

CLICK HERE to download your free chakra e-book! 

Jun 232015
 

This is the big key (and mystery) of healing – how to accept your chronic illness and ourselves just as we are now- sick, ill and frankly, a little bit hopeless.

In the darkest times, when you’ve lost count of how many days you’ve been staring at the ceiling for, waiting for doctors or even family and friends to listen to you, or when you’re feeling beyond despair and anger, remember this.

The sun is always there. Clouds may cover it, rain might hamper its rays for a while, the moon might dance with it, but it is always there. It is always there for you.

Think of the moment you soar above the clouds on an aeroplane and are blinded by the sun, even though 10 minutes earlier you were caught in a blizzard. The sun and its light provide a constant source of energy and renewal for plants and animals, but very rarely do we see ourselves as being reinvigorated by this beautiful star.

above clouds

Taken from here

Just as birds soar above the clouds, effortless in flight and freedom, illness can be our gateway to a new way of thinking, even a new life.

I will always be forever grateful for having CFS. It has made me stronger and wiser, more patient and forever thankful. It has also broken me and tested me. It made me angry and resentful. It was the thunderstorm to my sunshine. But I love how the experience has shaped my reality and my thoughts for the better.

They say that you attract what you think about. I spent years, even after I thought I had recovered, comparing my health to that of others, wishing my situation could’ve been difference. I spent an embarrassing amount of hours living in my head, accepting that I was just one of those ill people. Dwelling on the past, weeks off work while it seemed to be a breeze for everyone else, worrying when I was going to pick up the next bug- in a way, it became my way of life…and I was stuck.

The moment I stopped thinking about being an ‘ill person’ and more importantly, living in fear of possibly being ill, that’s when the real freedom and acceptance took place. Illness didn’t serve me anymore, neither did the ‘ill person’ label. Worrying about even possibility of being ill is a very real anxiety if you’ve had CFS or any other life-changing condition, but if anything, by worrying, you ensure that the next day you will wake up feeling physically worse. It has been proven that the brain cannot distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. Therefore, if you spend days thinking about illness, eventually, your body will accept that you are ill and ensure that the appropriate symptoms appear from nowhere. Square one seems like home.

For me, it was impossible to believe that and accept that this was part of my journey. But looking back, I know that by thinking about illness, I was attracting it. If I hadn’t been ill to begin with however, I would never had learnt this for myself.

Now I know that this was how it was meant to be all along. This is my journey, my gift from something or someone somewhere to ensure I lived my best possible life.

Just as I attracted illness with thought of illness, we can all attract health through thoughts of health and wellbeing.

Try to find the gift in your illness. Sit in silence and clear your mind. The answer will come to you in time, and you will feel blessed.

Love and tranquility,

Katie  xxx

Jun 122015
 
bubble

 

This post was written straight after a ‘kapow!’ session with the amazing Tara Bliss of Such Different Skies. Hop on over and pay my girl a visit- you won’t regret it!

“Your problem is you are too busy holding on to your unworthiness.” – Ram Dass

Let me put this out there straight away. I have been wrestling with feeling unworthy and undeserving my whole life, but none more so than at the moment I’m typing this.

You see, after being ill for so long and now having been well for so long, I feel like something’s going to trip me up somewhere. It’s all going too well. I don’t mean this in a ‘get me, I’m fantastic way’, but it’s more from a place of ‘wow, this is what life’s supposed to look like’ way. It’s amazing what happens when you stop struggling and just accept the blessings you’ve been given just for a moment.

It’s ok to feel lucky, it’s ok to have things to be grateful for. The world we live in can be terrifying, but it’s also awesome, phenomenal and completely, flabbergastingly incredible just by its very nature. We have seasons, days, cycles, minutes, earth, sky, the sun and the moon- working altogether to keep us safe and nourished in our beds at night…and we didn’t even lift a finger. If that doesn’t give us something to be grateful for, then I’m not 100% sure what will.

I’ve always been one of those people who prioritised others- as a teacher, it’s expected and it’s, basically, the job. Flog your guts out, deal with rubbish, try not to fall asleep on the journey home, do some more work and let your head hit the pillow. Rinse and repeat. I’ve been hardwired for this my whole life, as my parents always worked incredibly hard when my brother and I were younger, and they still do.

Now however, I find myself on the other side of world in my soul-place, Sydney, with beautiful weather, outstanding health, a ‘words-can’t begin to describe’ fiancé and a ‘pinch-me’ life. That’s not to say it’s always tickety-boo- there will always be ‘meh’ moments and struggles, but it’s all looking pretty sweet….so why do I feel like I don’t deserve this?

Because it seems too easy. Because it seems soul-felt. Because it seems natural and I’m bouncing on the great trampoline of soul-work. Because things are working out and I’m not flippin’ exhausted all the time. Because it doesn’t seem like work. Because I’m beginning to trust in something greater than me. Because connecting with you all on this blog just feels so amazing and like such an gifted privilege that’s going to be whipped out from under me the second I look away.

This feeling of unworthiness keeps me in the ‘it’s not all that’, pebble-grey bubble. It’s keeps me feelings that I still have to fight, that there’s still something wrong with my life, like everyone else’s, so I keep this feeling, because I need it.

bubble

Photo taken from here

But I don’t need it. I don’t need unworthiness to keep me small, to keep me struggling and to keep me from reaching up high and pulling on the chords of light up there that have tags with my name on them.

Just by being here, you are a worthy. You are worthy and deserving because you made it here, and you will be until your last day. You are therefore worthy of all the goodness in your life, whether you feel like you’ve done something to earn it or not.

You are worthy of abundant health and you deserve to be able to live a life full of energy and light. Do not stay stuck because you feel like illness is where you belong.

You are worthy of that chocolate milkshake after a long day.

You are worthy of having family and friends that love you and laugh with you, even when the joke isn’t funny.

You are worthy of your dreams, wanting more and filling your basket.

You are worthy of taking that long weekend you’ve been promising yourself for ages.

You are worthy of sitting in the park with a book and reading, guilt-free.

You are worthy of stillness, energy and light.

You are worthy of goodness, love, sincerity, openness, fun, frivolity and sheer, screeching joy.

You are worthy of just being here. now. in this moment.

You deserve to just ‘be’. You are worthy. You are love.

Love and worthiness,

Katie    xxx

Jun 122015
 

 

As many of you I’m sure already know, loneliness and isolation form a very large and intimidating part of this illness. You’re spending so many hours a day in your own head, in bed, wondering when it’s all going to be over, and to be honest, a lot of the time, stringing a sentence together to speak to people is impossible. I remember my family thinking that I was being really rude for not speaking if they asked me a question, when actually it got to the point where I just couldn’t be bothered to start talking, because I knew I’d never be able to finish my sentence. The feeling of not being able to speak cohesively was so uncomfortable for me that I just didn’t talk in an effort to push this feeling away. It was demoralising- I felt pathetic. Ultimately, this side of me was completely removed from the person I was once- the bubbly, enthusiastic, talkative bundle of energy who always had time for everything and loved every minute of it.

So, realising when I was starting to get better that all my friends had lost touch and got on with their lives was harrowing. It was a real universal acknowledgment that I needed to stop wallowing and accept the now. It meant that I had to embrace loneliness in Chronic Illness and accept isolation for a little while, pretty much because I had no choice.

SONY DSC

Image taken from here

So, why don’t we like being alone?

We need connection as humans, but especially in this illness. We need to know that there’ll be someone there when we holler, someone at arms reach to catch us, to carry us to the bathroom. We need humans as our safety blankets. We need them to tell us that this is all a bit of nightmare and we’ll wake up soon (even though some of our nearest and dearest do this is rather strange ways!) Even if they don’t speak to us, or even if you don’t want them to speak to you, another person’s presence is angelic, warm and reassuring. A validation that other people still exist and lead normal lives while you’re stuck between four walls.

I remember loving weekends during my illness because everyone was at home- even just hearing sounds of people banging around in the kitchen was reassuring and comforting, knowing that I’d have someone to check in on me.

It’s the ultimate sign that someone else still believes in us, even if we don’t. That someone else still holds that flag for you, even if you’ve lost faith in your life. Having our loved ones interfere, nag and fret over us is an outward sign of care, concern and an overall need to make us better, whatever the costs. When we lose all hope in ourselves, we need others to show us the way and remind us of our brilliance.

But, be careful.

Be very careful in your need just to have ‘someone there’ that you don’t bring the wrong people into your circle, those who rob you of your energy, make you worry and stress even more and who ultimately have no faith in you. This can be hard when it’s your family or people you’ve known for a while, but you have to know that ultimately, their concern comes out of anger, frustration and misunderstandings towards your illness, just as yours does when you question yourself. If someone is really zapping your energy, talk to them about it, about how their words make you feel.

Getting comfortable with being on your own.

I’ve spent so much time on my own as a result of this illness that I’m, as sad as this might sound, my own best friend. What I mean by this is that, even though I now have a fantastic network of friends that I meet with very regularly, I’m very comfortable being on my own and I know myself and my own mind really, really well. I honestly believe that this ability to be on my own and enjoy my own company has carried me through and has kept me strong when I lost all hope during my healing. I listened to my inner voice and it carried me through. You lose the ability to do this when you are around other people, trying to please them, listen to them and fight back with wordless arguments. Fighting loneliness now, however deep and scary that bottomless well is, will mean you’ll be stronger for it later, more independent and more joyful in your future life. Ultimately, you’ll come out of the illness fighting, without a need to cling to others or stay small- being comfortable and confident in your own company will let you do that. If you still feel the need to desperately cling to others and to be around people constantly, know that loneliness, little by little, will make you stronger. It’s only in this space that you can grow into your true ‘you’.

I often think that that’s what this illness is here to show us- that there is strength is following our gut instincts, in listening to your inner guidance and in leading your own life.

alone image Image by Lee Scott taken from Unsplash

So, how can you enjoy time on your own?

  • Try one of these now.
  • Meditate. Meditate like there’s no tomorrow without the fear that someone’ll walk in and brand you a big hippie.
  • If you can, write your thoughts down in a journal. Feel the power of just you, pen and paper and the universe.
  • Read and listen to audiobooks like there’s no tomorrow. Lose yourself in the company of someone else through words. You’ll learn so much about yourself, and for goodness sake, don’t feel guilty. You won’t have this time again and you’ll be glad you had this time for growth and understanding when you’re recovered and running around like a mad thing again.

You are allowed to feel lonely- don’t push it away. You are allowed to feel that nasty, metallic, hollow feeling and really get into it. There is no shame in this. You are allowed to enjoy the company of others and at times it’s essential, but if you have to be on your own, flick into that self-exploration mode and go there. It’s scary and you might no like what you find, but ultimately, that’s your way through.

Love and strength,

Katie     xxx

Apr 212015
 

 

This is probably one of the most controversial things I’ve ever written on this blog, but I really feel moved to put it out there, so here it it. I wrote this blog post years ago, years before I even started blogging, after reading Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing, by the unfathomable (in a good way!), Caroline Myss.

I realised a few years ago that my illness made me live in absolute fear. When you’re diagnosed with something, there’s always fear and uncertainty, and for most people, it passes…but not for me. I was too tired and sick to think much about it at the beginning, but as I started to heal, I realised that, as twisted and strange as this might seem, I was holding on to some parts of being ill. They were comfortable, they were familiar and they came to be all I’d ever known. I became the ‘just in case’ girl- I’m not going to apply for that job just in case I get rejected, I’m not going to go out for that meal tonight just in case I feel tired tomorrow, I’m not going to ask him for help just in case he thinks I’m an idiot. I lived in my safe, secure little comfort zone, thanks to my illness.

This is not meant to upset anyone or to accuse anyone of  faking illness or showing you that it’s all in your head. If you’re ill, you’re ill. CFS is definitely not an ‘in your head’ illness- the symptoms, as we all know, can be gut-wrenching, painful, never-ending and confronting. This article is for you if you are nearly there, but not quite, and you’re looking for something to pull you up a little. I had this realisation a while ago and it was very relevant to me, so maybe it will be for you too.

HealingTree.335203811_std

Image taken from here

Here are 5 reasons why you or someone you know might be scared of getting better. If any of these strike a chord with you, ask yourself why and if you’re still holding on to any of them. Be honest.

1)   You Still Need Down-Time and Rest

Just before I became ill, I was a mini-superwoman. Straight A student, choir, orchestra, athletics team, netball team, debating team, you name it. I didn’t realise it at the time, but my body and mind were craving some time out. I didn’t listen for a long time, so my body gave me time out- for a long time.

Being ill is not just taxing on your body, but mentally and emotionally draining. Often, as the physical symptoms have eased up, we’re left with an emotional ‘hangover’, which can leave us shattered, raw and feeling vulnerable. Thinking about your illness and healing is tiring, and maybe you’re mind is still recovering, even though your body seems to be ok. Go easy on yourself and give yourself a break.

2)   Attention from your Family and Friends

Don’t get me wrong, I have the most supportive and loving family you could ever hope for, but because I was so busy being busy, I often pushed away their love and concern. Being ill subconsciously meant that I was closer to them, that I was accepting their love and they openly validated their love for me. It felt good that someone else gave me the care and attention I couldn’t give myself.

 3)   You Don’t Like Change

There was one point during my illness lying in bed where I genuinely couldn’t imagine living a normal life. Think about it- no responsibilities, no stress, no career path, nothing. It’s a hell of a lot easier not to have to deal with all this stuff and let others take the reins. I knew facing change and being responsible was going to be stressful and difficult, so I resisted it as much as possible through continued illness. I don’t mean to say I ‘faked’ my illness, but my negative thoughts kept me going in circles. I now love, love, love change as it makes you a brighter, more courageous person. I couldn’t have gotten to this point without my illness.

4)   You’re Petrified of What Others Think of you

If you’ve been ill for a while and it’s an illness that really affected your life, it’s so much easier to play it small. It’s so much easier to feel secretly ashamed and play it safe. I did everything I could to avoid questions relating to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: “But everyone gets really tired, don’t they?”, “Isn’t it just depression?”. For the most part though, I discovered all the questions and opinions I thought people would have were completely unfounded. Everyone was just glad I was ok and that I was recovering from whatever that ‘thing’ was.

5)   You’re Absolutely Petrified of being your True Self

This for me was the big one. If I got better and really wanted to make a go of things again, this would mean having to really figure out what I wanted, where I was going, and more importantly, who I was. Thinking about it was absolutely terrifying and completely exhausting. For a lot of people, they would rather stick pins in their eyes than come clean, stand up and be their true selves. I truly believe that my illness was rooted in being inauthentic and in doing what everyone else wanted me to do. So I just hid and so did my body.

You are amazing. You are brilliant and unique, and you know this. You’ve always known this. In sickness or in health, stand up and be counted. Take your healing day by day and do not lose hope that one day you will get there. It is your life- live it.

If any of this has struck a chord with you, I’d love to hear from you below. Where are you playing small? Do you think there are any advantages to being ill?

Love and honesty,

Katie     xxx

 

For more on acceptance and moving forwards with CFS/M.E, click here to read all about my specially written e-book.

CFS acceptance cover