C.M. Boyle

@courageousclair | contributor
I have health issues, namely Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) and Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS). I face daily challenges because of my health issues but I am determined that I will no longer be beaten by them any more! I might have lost what a I considered “normal”, and almost everything that I once, subconsciously, took for granted. Now, I desperately want to find ‘me’ again and discover what my new “normal” is. I am tired of feeling beaten down by my health issues and I am determined to get back to living my life again instead of just surviving it. Life is for living, not just for surviving, and I would love to help anyone who is wanting to get back to enjoying life again.
Community Voices

🎄“The most wonderful time of year”?🎄

<p>🎄“The most wonderful time of year”?🎄</p>
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🎉 Happy New Year (when it comes)!! 🎉

<p>🎉 Happy New Year (when it comes)!! 🎉</p>
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🎄“The most wonderful time of year”?🎄

<p>🎄“The most wonderful time of year”?🎄</p>
5 people are talking about this
Community Voices

🎄“The most wonderful time of year”?🎄

<p>🎄“The most wonderful time of year”?🎄</p>
5 people are talking about this
Ren Cerami

How to Start a Gratitude Journal Routine for Self-Care

I think having a gratitude journal works for me personally. As someone with a great tendency to be pessimistic, the first thing I’d always notice is something wrong with me and my life (either real or perceived). Especially when I’m depressed and anxious, my perspective is often dark-colored, making it hard to see anything good going on. I’m not saying gratitude is the answer to anxiety and depression . It’s so far from that. But gratitude does help to lighten my gloomy thoughts from time to time. And to me, this little help is worth a try. As opposed to a commonly held belief, gratitude is not about freeing you from all so-called negative emotions and thoughts, like you suddenly feel your life is great again. It is the act of cultivating a little bit of hope and joy inside of you for your self-care, even when sadness and despair may still persist. Over time, with gratitude practice, I find myself being more open to the little good things around me. Besides the “bad” stuff I can spot in my life, I’ve been able to recognize positive experiences as well, however small they are. This recognition makes me feel calmer and grounded. So, here are six tips I discovered that could hopefully help you start your own gratitude practice and make it sustainable: 1. Practice. Frequency is key. Just like any other skill, the more you practice it, the more you’ll get used to it. There are days when it’s harder for you to “hunt the good stuff.” But if you can, try to jot down something in your journal on a daily basis. Many resources advise us to look for three things to be grateful for; however, if you manage to only find one thing, then that’s it. This practice is for you and your own being so you don’t have to meet any quota. After all, one is still better than none, right? 2. Time. Pick a time at which you are able to reflect a little bit on your day. It could be daytime or bedtime, depending on what is more convenient for you. I choose bedtime because I often get up late and rush in the morning. 3. Think small but personal. Cliches won’t do much. Things like “I’m grateful I have food because many children are starving” don’t click with me. Instead of generic statements, I write about specific experiences that feel true to me. For example, “I’m glad it didn’t rain today so I could go cycling,” “I’m happy Katie texted me to catch up,” or “it’s good I didn’t drop my phone at lunch.” You don’t need to have a great big thing to put in your journal. As long as it makes you feel good, it matters. 4.  Break it down. An obstacle to gratitude practice is sometimes feeling like you can’t find anything, or having too few things to write about. This could be discouraging and breaking things down may help you see that you have more to put in your journal than you think. For instance, when my close friend took me to Starbucks, instead of listing it as one good event, I broke it into two separate events: “seeing my friend” and “her treating me a drink.” 5. It’s OK to skip. Don’t give up because you have been skipping for a while. Just pick up where you have left off. Sometimes I stopped it for months and continued when I remembered. The value of the practice stays in the moment (like an Instagram story that lasts for 24 hours) rather than in the sum of the process. So if you are putting off, be gentle with yourself and resume once you’re ready. 6. KISS: Keep it short and simple. There are already many complicated things in life and this practice shouldn’t be one of them. Don’t make writing a gratitude journal the next thing on your to-do list or a part of a self-improvement regime. Instead, just keep it simple and comfortable for you, based on your own interests and preferences. If you like long writing, that’s great; if you don’t, simply jot down a few words. The Bottom Line At first, gratitude practice may seem a bit mechanical or boring to you, yet gradually it will become more natural and easier. Take me as an example; I used to find this Robert Brault quote cheesy, but over time I think it’s actually true: “Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” Hey Mighties, let’s hunt the good stuff together!

Chronic Illness: Why It's So Hard to Get a Diagnosis

For many people with chronic illnesses “diagnosis” is a process, not an event. And often it’s a process shrouded in confusion and complication and without a finite or cathartic ending. I was diagnosed with several chronic conditions aged 20 (Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, PoTS, gastroparesis, mast cell activation syndrome), over 10 years after my onset of symptoms. I fought long and hard for a diagnosis. And in the end, I only got there because I had people around to support me, the financial capability to skip waiting times and see a private doctor, and enough energy to keep pushing on. Getting diagnosed is a privilege. When I got so sick that disappeared from my own life in 2019 many of the people around me had no conception of the struggles I was going through. They didn’t understand that you could get sick but not get better, that it could be “chronic.” Like most people, they believed that legitimate symptoms plus a good doctor would mean a diagnosis. Followed by treatment, and then getting better. But in reality, this is simply not the case. And this “diagnostic limbo” isn’t something that’s talked about, understood or portrayed in mainstream media. If you ask a patient with a chronic diagnosis how many doctors they had to see, how many times they were dismissed with “it’s all in your head” and how close they came to believing this and giving up you may be surprised by their answer. Patients with rare or poorly understood conditions are frequently misdiagnosed. And the politics of mainstream medicine often don’t work in our favor — especially for people of color, young people, women or those with mental health diagnoses. For conditions such as EDS or MCAS, the diagnostic criteria may be clinical, meaning that typical lab work is unable to confirm the presence of the condition. Currently in the UK, many patients who have a preliminary diagnosis of EDS, especially the hypermobile type but who are not considered at risk of serious complications, are unable to achieve a referral to a geneticist. And the exact gene mutation is yet to be found therefore it can’t be tested for. This means that they sit in a sort of “limbo,” with an initial but unconfirmed diagnosis. Similarly, with MCAS a lack of clear guidelines for the recognition, testing and effective treatment of the condition leaves patients at a loss with how to receive care. Many turn to private or holistic treatments to manage their symptoms. Or experiment with dietary changes and off-label remedies. Explaining symptoms, feelings and experiences can also be a challenge. At my worst, I remember that my brain felt so foggy I couldn’t even understand where I was or what I was doing. Explaining the wide array of uncomfortable symptoms I was having was an impossible task. Language and subjectivity can be a huge barrier to patients. Some spend their entire lives without knowing exactly what is causing their symptoms. When I got diagnosed with a genetic condition, at least two of my other family members with complex and unexplained medical histories went on to be diagnosed also. I wonder how many others in my family lived without being afforded the opportunity to understand the ailments of their body. When you have been sick for years sometimes you simply need a diagnosis confirmed and written on paper. For validation. But a diagnosis also provides permission to do life differently such as use mobility aids. It provides access to financial and practical support, and the ability to connect with others experiencing a similar battle. Every day I go through a constant process of validating myself. Of validating the fact that I am “sick enough” to do things differently. And even when you have a diagnosis, it doesn’t end there. Often a name can’t explain how or why you are sick, and what can be done to make you better. It is true regardless of its name, your symptoms are valid. The pain you experience day-to-day is valid. Your health experience is valid — diagnosis or not. A name won’t make it more real — it already is. However, a diagnosis changed my life. It was a privilege I am eternally grateful for but it was also a battle. And this battle is one that is all too familiar for chronic illness patients. See more from Georgia on her YouTube channel.

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🤔 Why can’t they just agree?! 🤷🏻‍♀️

<p>🤔 Why can’t they just agree?! 🤷🏻‍♀️</p>
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Community Voices

Can FND affect the GI system? I have had 4 doctors visits and an ER visit. I was already diagnosed with FND and I am wondering if it’s a flare.

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Community Voices

💔 Does time really heal all? ❤️‍🩹

<p>💔 Does time really heal all? ❤️‍🩹</p>
27 people are talking about this
Community Voices

💔 Does time really heal all? ❤️‍🩹

<p>💔 Does time really heal all? ❤️‍🩹</p>
27 people are talking about this