Simone DM

@chronically_inspired | contributor
I am an M.E. and lyme warrior living in the UK. I campaign to raise awareness of these conditions and write stories from my bed. I think it’s important for sufferers to realize that they are more than their condition. I love to travel and learn about different languages and cultures. My favourite snack is turmeric tea and cashew butter.
Community Voices

Reasons Staying Childfree Because of Health Conditions Isn't Selfish

The idea that choosing not to have children is “selfish” originally came from certain religious denominations that encouraged having a large family. This way of thinking seems rather out-of-date in our diverse, multi-faith modern society. However, there is still a lot of pressure on women to have at least one child. Although I am not currently in a relationship, I fear that I might be persuaded to agree to have children just to please my partner — but that would be the wrong decision for me. I think there are a lot of unfit parents out there, and to admit that you might not have what it takes to raise children seems smart to me. It’s important to know what you want and to not sacrifice your own wants and needs for the sake of peer pressure or (or the sake of giving your parents grandkids!) Here are my reasons for choosing to remain childfree. 1. I’ve never had a strong maternal instinct. It’s just not there! I don’t have a caretaker personality type — I’m a free spirit with a passionate, artistic temperament. I recognize I’m not a typical “mother hen” — and that’s OK with me. 2. I grew up in a dysfunctional family. My family life growing up has put me off of the idea of starting my own family, as I have never witnessed a healthy relationship dynamic. I don’t want to “mess up” my kids’ lives. 3. I’d love to be an aunt. I’d be happy to be an aunt to my friends’ kids (and my sister’s kids if she has them). I don’t dislike children, and I can still make them part of my life if I want to. 4. I’d love to be a “dog mom.” I’m happy to just have dogs. The idea of having pets excites me more than having a child does! 5. I value my freedom. I’m young at heart. I know I want to travel and experience more of the world without feeling like I’m “tied down” at home. 6. I’m focused on my career. In my 30s, I began a new career path, and I am currently gaining qualifications for it. My career is my main priority right now. I hope to be able to grow my own business, and I know this goal will require every ounce of my time and energy. 7. I’ve struggled with chronic illness. I have been through a long, traumatic struggle with chronic illness for the past decade. It has taken a huge toll on me — both mentally and physically. I am on the road to recovery, but the threat of relapse always looms. I can’t in good conscience bear a child just for them to take on a “caregiver” role in childhood. My children may be genetically susceptible to the same illness too — and I don’t want them to struggle like I have. 8. My medical trauma could make pregnancy difficult. After everything I have been through with my illness — including medical trauma — I would not be willing to put my body through the long process of pregnancy and labor. There are so many potential complications. 9. I’ve struggled with my mental health. My mental health has been up and down since my teenage years. I wouldn’t want to feel like I can’t mentally support my child. It’s no secret that raising a child can be incredibly stressful and demanding, and I don’t know how my mental health will affect me as a parent. 10. I’ve been unable to work. Since I have been unable to work for the past few years and have had to spend all of my savings on private medical treatment, I have no “nest egg” to speak of. I don’t know how I would be able to financially provide for a child. 11. I don’t want to become a “martyr.” I have never wanted to play the role of the housewife and mother who martyrs herself. I don’t want to give up everything for my husband and children. 12. I’m focused on healing right now. Call it “selfish” if you want, but I am focusing on my physical, spiritual and emotional healing right now. I am trying to abandon unhealthy habits, be a helpful presence in the world, and hopefully inspire others to learn and grow. 13. I’m worried about the current state of the world. As cliché as it may sound, I don’t want to bring a child into the world we live in right now — especially with the current “perma-crisis” that is going on. 14. I’m not ready to have children. I’m not ready to have children yet. I have always been a “late bloomer” as well as someone who changes their mind, so I realize I may suddenly decide I want a kid later in life. In that case, I have always loved the idea of adoption — giving a child who is already here a loving home. I’d just hope to feel a lot more stable if and when the time comes. 15. I think it would be selfish of me to have a child. I think the exact opposite of some people — I think choosing to have a child would be selfish for me personally. I do like the idea of settling down and having my version of a family one day — but I dream of having a partner and two dogs. I agree that having something to focus on outside of yourself can be healthy — as long as you don’t neglect your own needs — but I think I can find fulfillment in a career, clients, extended family, pets, or even volunteer work. At the moment, being childless is the best choice for me, and I feel at peace with my decision.

Community Voices

8 Treatment Hacks for People With Migraine and ME/CFS

One of my worst symptoms having ME/Lyme disease has been horrific migraines; everything from aching in the temples and burning pain in the base of my skull to throbbing in the crown of my head that made me black out when I stood up. It’s been a long journey of experimenting with different treatments, which was made all the more challenging by the fact that migraines attributed to ME do not respond to normal migraine medication. I’m eager to share some ways I’ve found relief from migraines with CFS/ME, in the hope that it might help someone reading this. 1) Sleep/Rest. Sometimes simply sleeping it off is what is needed. 2) Meditation and Relaxation. If you are unable to fall asleep, meditation and visualization or any relaxation techniques that promote complete mental rest can work just as well, if not better. Research secondary suffering, where your pain is exacerbated by your emotional distress; calming this can release tension in your head. 3) Movement. It sometimes seems like my head is congested, and going for a slow walk or doing some gentle stretching that helps circulate the blood and lymph around the body can help a lot. Drinking lots of water and other detox methods may help too. 4) Epsom Salts. The magnesium in Epsom salts transcends the blood-brain barrier and has an immediate anesthetic effect that I find as good as any painkiller. A hot bath also stimulates circulation. 5) Acupressure Cushion and Mat I use Shakti Mat but Prana Mat is another good brand. These are useful tools in helping release tension from the head by stimulating certain acupressure points as well as circulation. 6) The Perrin Technique The Perrin Technique is a lymphatic drainage technique developed by Dr. Raymond Perrin. I’ve been doing this treatment with an osteopath and it’s been a game changer; my migraines are now much less frequent and severe. The treatment involves craniosacral therapy and self-massage. If you can’t afford or are not near a Perrin practitioner, you can still try the self-massage for free, just follow this YouTube video. 7) Bender Ball My osteopath suggested that I use a semi-deflated Pilates ball, which relieves the tension from your neck and lets your head float weightlessly. This also helps release tension and encourages blood flow. 8) Painkillers and/or Migraine Medications. Yes, there is a place for pharmaceuticals here, but I would always use them as a last resort after exhausting all other options. Good luck; hope this helps!

Community Voices

9 Tips for Cooking With Chronic Illness or Disability

Since being able to cook again for the past couple of years, I’ve been learning how to navigate the kitchen as someone with a chronic illness that causes limited strength and energy. It’s been a trial-and-error process, but I’d like to share some things that have made my life easier. This advice is for any spoonies out there or anyone who wants to save time and work when cooking. 1. Keep cooking with a chronic illness simple. Look for recipes with few ingredients, as long ingredient lists are hard to source, and many elements take time to prepare. Read the method in advance, check that there are not too many labor-intensive stages, and/or look for ways you can cut corners. Also, you don’t always need to cook a gourmet meal to make it healthy. Sometimes a simple baked potato or a bowl of soup will do the trick. Healthy Living James shares a lot of great tasty and accessible recipes on his Instagram page and in his new cookbook. 2. Cook using packet mixes and meal kits. If I’m not up to cooking something from scratch, I have some packet mixes in the cupboard for making free from bakes, pancakes, veggie burgers, nut roasts + falafel. Some of my favorite U.K. brands are Free and Easy Foods and Artisan Grains. I’ve also found meal kits delivered to your door like Hello Fresh and Gousto Box make your life easier by providing all the ingredients already measured out. Spice mixes are also a great way to add some flavor to any dish and try out a new cuisine from home. You can be transported to the Mediterranean, Morocco, or India! 3. Use kitchen gadgets to make cooking with chronic illness easier. I use a kitchen stool to conserve my energy, a microwave, dishwasher, food processor, a powerful Nutribullet blender, and a handheld mixer that I’d like to replace with the Ninja Kitchen chopper that Deliciously Ella uses for chopping and making dips. On my wish list is a slow cooker, which you can leave all day to do its magic. The Magimix Cook Expert available in the U.K. sounds pretty awesome too. When baking, I’ve found an ice cream scoop useful for measuring out the mixture for healthy muffins and cookies. And get a digital scale – just in case you happen to have the old-fashioned kind with weights, don’t do it to yourself! 4. One pot cooking can help reduce chronic illness fatigue. This is so much easier than having a lot of different elements on the go. I use a large, shallow casserole dish on the hob or make a whole meal in a roasting tin (check out The Roasting Tin cookbooks by Rukmini Iyer for ideas). 5. Batch cook so you don’t have to prepare meals as often. If you can, always make extra so you can have the leftovers for lunch/dinner the next day or freeze portions for days you aren’t up to cooking. My favorite batch breakfast is overnight oats which keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. 6. Buy frozen fruit and vegetables to save time and energy. This is so useful as you can chuck a handful of broccoli florets in your stir fry and save yourself lots of chopping up, or frozen raspberries to your oatmeal, smoothies, and juices (I’ve been using a green smoothie mix lately too). Tinned or jarred fruit and vegetables or freeze-dried fruit are good backups in case you are ever stuck for anything fresh. 7. Buy sharp knives and lightweight cooking implements. Be careful, but these can save work by making chopping and peeling much easier. Lightweight pans and mixing bowls, etc. are also much easier to lift. Try to reuse bowls, chopping boards, and implements if you can to minimize washing up! 8. Minimize distractions while cooking with chronic illness. Brain fog can make it difficult to concentrate, so make sure you have the kitchen to yourself and don’t try to multitask (maybe leave your phone in the other room) while following a recipe. I love singing along to music as I cook, but I tend to save this for recipes I know by heart. 9. Lastly, learn from your mistakes. Mine was attempting to cut through a turnip, never again! And have fun! I find frying onions and melting chocolate very therapeutic! Check out my Instagram page Healing Simone for healthy, clean recipes.

How TV Makes the World More Accessible to People With Chronic Illness

I’m going to say something that might be controversial… I don’t think watching TV is really so bad for us! I’ve discovered so much about the world from watching documentaries on travel, nature, history, the arts, and social issues, been cheered up by comedy shows, and gained tips on love and relationships from reality TV shows. Though I don’t personally recommend watching too much news content due to its effect on the nervous system! The TV screen has been a lifeline when I was too ill to leave my bed or my home. I love immersing myself in a storyline and becoming attached to the characters and their lives. It’s also made me feel included in world events like concerts, festivals, and political demonstrations I would have liked to attend. Without a doubt, TV makes the world more accessible for disabled, chronically ill and mentally ill people, and the elderly. Not to mention it helps visual learners who learn best from video plus audio. Granted, no one feels great after a junk TV binge, but if your daily activities are interspersed with an hour or two of TV, like getting stuck in a good film, I honestly don’t see the problem. I know we were brought up to think we would get “square eyes” and indeed too much screen time is a problem today, but our phones and computers are to blame for that too. It’s all about learning to be mindful of your use of screens and stopping before you overdo it. Easier said than done, I know! But if you remember to take a break, to move your body and reconnect with nature or a good book, have a conversation with a friend or a hot bath, a little TV can nourish you in a different way. It would be unrealistic for us to strive not to use technology at all in this day and age. It’s all about finding balance. If you can make screen time a part of your life without letting it dominate your life (e.g. turn off notifications, keep your phone on silent, and don’t let checking your phone be the first thing you do when you wake up and the last thing you do before you go to sleep) then you’re winning.

Community Voices

New Story "The Great Teacher that is Chronic Illness"

tinyurl.com/mr2fdf63

Please read & share! <3 #chronicillness="" #myalgicencephalomyelitis="" #chronicfatiguesyndrome="" #lymedisease=""

Community Voices