Dawn

@dawnch77
I have pulmonary and skin sarcoidosis as well as hypothyroidism and PCOS. I also struggle with migraines, depression, and anxiety. I have always had anxiety but the depression has come on since getting sick. I just want to get better. I miss the old Dawn, the one that could do anything.
Community Voices

ADHD and Driving

<p>ADHD and Driving</p>
7 people are talking about this
Community Voices

What’s not working in your life right now? How can you begin to fix it?

<p>What’s not working in your life right now? How can you begin to fix it?</p>
32 people are talking about this
Community Voices

What’s not working in your life right now? How can you begin to fix it?

<p>What’s not working in your life right now? How can you begin to fix it?</p>
32 people are talking about this
Emma
Emma @emmavsiih
contributor

Positive, Yet Realistic Things to Remember If You Have Chronic Illness

This article is just as much for me as it is for anyone else. Learning to live with a chronic illness is a lifelong journey, one that has many twists and turns, as well as the occasional muddy water that can seem impossible to pass. Here are some reminders for when you come across those uncrossable obstacles. 1. You don’t have to apologize for something out of your control. Being chronically ill is out of your control. There’s no way around that. If it was in your control, you probably wouldn’t be chronically ill. 2. Don’t judge yourself through someone else’s eyes. Shame has no place in your wellness journey. You deserve a life that is shame-free and you don’t owe anyone anything. Which leads me to my next point. 3. You are not obligated to do everything a healthy person does. You don’t owe anyone a healthy persona. If you are authentically yourself, you are not healthy, and you don’t have to pretend to be. 4. You are capable of achieving more than you believe. Remember that time you thought you were so tired you couldn’t take another step and you did? You did that. That proves you can do hard things. 5. You’re not unreliable — your health is. This is something I’m still learning, but that’s not going to stop me from trying to teach it! As I said before, shame, especially shame about canceling plans for your physical or mental well-being, has no place in your life. Letting yourself rest is part of a well-balanced life, and sometimes, rest has to come first. Listen to your body, and allow the shame train to keep moving. If anything, I hope this list is a reminder that you are not alone. No matter what obstacles come along your path, you will always have support on The Mighty. As Albus Dumbledore says, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” So remember to reach out and turn on that light.

Erin Migdol

12 Products People Who Get Migraines Swear By

When you feel a migraine coming on, that’s the time you probably start pulling out your migraine “go-to’s” — the things you’ve learned that help you get at least a little bit of relief. You likely figured out through trial and error which techniques are your friends, and which ones do nothing or even make it worse. Everyone’s migraines are different, and what works for you may not work for someone else. But with so many products on the market that claim to help migraines, it can be helpful to know what others have added to their migraine treatment routines. We asked our Mighty community which products (besides medication) they swear by when they have a migraine. Perhaps you’ll get some ideas of things to try that you haven’t before. We hope the products below, all recommended by our Mighty community members, help you or a loved one in your health journeys. Just so you know, The Mighty may collect a share of sales from the Amazon links on this page. 1. Bed Buddy Hot/Cold Pack Some people find heat helps relieve migraine pain while others swear by cold (or you may experience relief from both). A heatable pack that can also be chilled allows you to treat your migraine both ways. The pack featured above is filled with a mixture of grains, herbs and flowers and can be secured to your neck or head with the looped ends. “My Bed Buddy Hot/Cold Pack was an absolute lifesaver for me in ‘the migraine days.’ I still swear by it… Best $7 I ever spent!” Ami Ceresi said. Buy the Bed Buddy Hot/Cold Pack for $9.99 from Bed Bath & Beyond. 2. Shades App When a migraine hits, looking at your bright phone or laptop screen can be excruciating. Shades is an app that allows you to make your screen darker but still visible if you need to use your device. “There’s an app on smartphones and computers called Shades that lowers brightness on your phone and still lets you use them when you have a migraine,” Kourtney Kennedy explained. “It’s the most important app on my phone, as it allows me to still be able to use my phone when I otherwise wouldn’t be able to look at the screen.” Download Shades for free from Google Play and for $0.99 from iTunes. 3. Eye Mask Eye masks do double-duty: They block out painful light, and if you find a style that can be heated or chilled, offer soothing pain relief. “My eye mask. It can be frozen or heated and I usually apply it on my forehead or the base of my neck. It is also great to block out lights if you are dealing with an increase in light sensitivity. I actually have two, that way one is always cold,” Mahala Howard recommended. Buy the eye mask featured above for $12.99 from Walmart. aid. 4. Mygrastick Mygrastick contains a mixture of peppermint and lavender essential oils that are meant to provide a cool, refreshing sensation when rolled onto pressure points. “It’s pure peppermint and lavender oil in a tiny roll-on applicator. A little goes a long way. When used in conjunction with your other migraine go-to treatments, it helps,” Elouise Seymour said. Buy Mygrastick for $9.19 from Amazon. 5. JASON Cooling Minerals & Tea Tree Muscle Pain Therapy This cooling balm works to relax tight muscles and provide a soothing sensation. “When a migraine strikes, I break out my jar of JASON Cooling Minerals & Tea Tree Muscle Pain Therapy. I get extremely feverish when I have a migraine and this seems to work better to cool me down than a regular ice pack,” Jenny Washington said. “I have applied to it my forehead, cheeks (avoiding my eyes) and sometimes even applied it to my scalp.” Buy JASON Cooling Minerals & Tea Tree Muscle Pain Therapy for $24.99 from Amazon. 6. Migraine Buddy App It’s not always easy to figure out exactly what’s triggering your migraines and what treatments are helping. Migraine Buddy can help you keep track of everything related to your migraines, from how long they last to the intensity of the pain to what might have triggered it. “I use the Migraine Buddy app on my phone to record my migraines. It’s in-depth and gives stats on what the triggers are, what I experience, when and where it happens, how often and what helps relieve them,” Anj Heidi Jamieson said. “It’s been really useful and the information I give is available to those studying migraines.” Download Migraine Buddy for free from iTunes and Google Play. 7. Sunglasses With light being a common migraine sensitivity, sunglasses are many migraineurs’ best friend. Sunglasses are a personal choice, so you’ll likely want to try many styles to find what works best for you. Some find that tinted lenses (or more specifically, precision tinted lenses) in colors like brown or pink help block out painful light the best; others may find that certain shapes, like aviators, work better than others. There are even sunglasses designed specifically for migraineurs. “Sunglasses have done more for me than any rescue med has,” said Marie Aprile. “Sunglasses — they don’t help as such, but can sometimes make it bearable until I can lie down in darkness,” agreed Tamara Epps. Buy the sunglasses featured above for $105 from SmartBuyGlasses. 8. ThermiPaq Heat up the ThermiPaq in the microwave or chill it in the freezer, and mold it around your neck or head while the heat and cold are released slowly. “I absolutely love my ThermiPaq — it is either cold from the freezer or you can warm it in the microwave and it holds its temperature longer than typical ‘gel’ packs because it is made with clay!” Eileen Howard explained. “It also sort of ‘molds’ easily to my head and stays put better without having to always be strapped on with the velcro strap. You can reuse them over and over too, so one lasts almost indefinitely!” Buy the ThermiPaq for $15.75 from Carex. 9. Saje Peppermint Halo This balm is applied to the scalp via a “wand” applicator, providing a cooling blend of peppermint, lavender and rosemary. Users may find that it helps relieve pressure. “I put Saje’s Peppermint Halo around my head at my hairline then I’m off to bed to sleep it off,” said Robyn Laycock. “I put it on my hairline near my temples and anywhere it hurts. Only thing that works,” said Shanleigh Rice. Buy Saje Peppermint Oil for $26.95 from Saje. 10. Migraine Hat A migraine hat is essentially a beanie with built-in ice packs, making it easier to secure the cold temperatures to your head and even go out while still treating your migraine. “I have three Migraine Hats in my freezer,” Kharissa Thorne said. Buy the migraine hat featured above for $29.99 from Amazon. 11. Blackout Curtains Heading to bed to escape light and sound and attempt to sleep off your migraine is inevitable sometimes. On those days, blackout curtains that make your room extra dark can help you feel more comfortable even if it’s the middle of the day. “Blackout curtains! They make staying in bed waaaay easier, especially when your side of the house gets the most sun,” said Erin Rosser. Buy the blackout curtains featured above for $19.89 from Home Depot. 12. Bamboo Pillow When moving or resting your head in the wrong way leads to more pain and discomfort, a supportive pillow is a must. Bamboo pillows aren’t actually filled with bamboo, but rather shredded memory foam that can be fluffed up depending on your preference. “A bamboo pillow. It’s very firm and padded… it keeps my head elevated just right, and helps support my neck from cramping,” said Tiffany Leonard. Buy the bamboo pillow featured above for $14.99 from Amazon. Have a product you love? let us know in the comments below.

Allysha Snow

The Grief That Comes From a Life With Chronic Illnesses

Learning to manage all of the symptoms that accompany chronic illness is a momentous task, to say the least. Most of my issues stem from fibromyalgia, temporomandibular joint dysfunction dysfunction, and a handful of auto-immune disorders, including digestive ailments. I have a really good team of medical professionals to support and guide me in the management of all of the physical symptoms that accompany my conditions, and for that, I am forever grateful. However, there’s a whole other layer to the management of my health – such as learning to cope with the emotional component of life with chronic illness. When I was diagnosed with my conditions a few years back, not one single medical professional addressed the emotional aspect of living with life-long symptoms. And even if they had talked to me about it, nothing would have prepared me for the heavy grief that accompanies this life. Grief is probably the most painful emotion I have ever experienced. And the thing is, I’ve learned through my journey with chronic illness that grief is cyclic, rather than linear. I truly thought that once I reached a level of acceptance with my “new normal” that the nearly unbearable anguish would desist. This didn’t happen. Lately I’m finding myself grieving my former ability to work full-time and be financially self-sufficient. I worked so hard in college so I could get a good job and sustain myself. I did this, until the sicknesses came to the point where I had to quit working full-time. The stress and heartache of being denied disability benefits (for the third time) is also weighing heavily on me. Now, I must wait well over a year, possibly two years, before I can appear before a judge and plead my case. No amount of preparation, had there been any, would have equipped me for the grueling and humbling task of petitioning for disability benefits, when all of me wishes I could return to full-time work and provide for myself, the way I used to. There are many other aspects of life I grieve. I so desperately wish I could travel on my own, have more energy and resources to date and (hopefully) find a life partner, move out on my own again, eat the foods and desserts I used to enjoy, participate in athletics, and have a full social calendar. These things are not possible for me at this time, and the harsh reality is, they may never be. I do my best to stay grateful, present, and positive. I have hope that medical breakthroughs may occur to help eradicate my diseases, or at least provide more symptom relief. I have hope that whenever I appear before the disability judge, he or she will see just how necessary disability benefits are for my life. I have hope that someday, I’ll be able to find a loving partner who supports me in my journey and lets me support them in theirs. At the end of the day, I carry both hope and grief. On the better days, hope wins. Other times, I have to sit with the grief, knowing that eventually, the heaviest of that pain will pass. Please be patient with your loved ones who experience chronic illnesses. I promise that they are also experiencing the pain that comes with the grief and loss that accompanies chronic illness. We are only human and the pain of regular bouts of sorrow can be an excruciatingly heavy load to bear. We cannot bear it alone; please, please, help us endure. We need you. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Thinkstock Image By: Chepko

Community Voices

Describe what this month  has been like for you using 3 emojis.

<p>Describe what this month  has been like for you using 3 emojis.</p>
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5 Reasons Why I Choose Boundaries Over Forgiveness

For the past three years, I have been deconstructing how forgiveness shows up in my life. The relentless ties only left me feeling less than, not good enough, resentful and left me with people-pleasing codependency. Follow me as I explain why I no longer choose forgiveness, but rather setting better boundaries in all my relationships, and how that set me free. Recently, I had one of my husband’s longtime friends laugh at me when I told them you don’t need to forgive to heal. But rather you need trauma work to heal and to learn to set better boundaries. They’d made the comments: “Well, maybe you’re just not ready to forgive.” “Forgiveness isn’t for them it’s for you.” “Just give it more time, that person’s really changed.” I wasn’t able to continue the conversation due to the laughter, and at that moment, I chose to place a better boundary rather than to continue. You know what? That friend never asked why. Why do I choose boundaries over forgiveness? Allow me to share my five reasons why I choose boundaries over forgiveness: 1. Living in the present, not the past. A common misconception victim-shamers like to tell us is we need to stop living in the past. “Oh, that happened such a long time ago.” “You should be over that by now.” “But they’re your family” These are phrases that come to mind. Just because I no longer forgive doesn’t mean I live in the past. I’m fully present and mindful of the many blessings living in the now brings. I’m not holding onto any grudges, but rather holding a boundary. I’m no longer holding onto past resentments, shame or guilt. What holding a boundary does for me is it allows me to fully accept the person for who they are and not who I want them to be. It’s total acceptance. 2. Religion. Religion has been used to silence the abused and harbor the abuser. From my childhood trauma, religion was used daily in controlling my behavior. Whether it was in the parochial school I attended, in the youth group I went to weekly, at the grocery store where I saw people who knew my family or at home. Shame, guilt and fear are also common tactics that are used to make the abused “fall in line” with the forgiveness narrative. Threats of, “I’m going to hell,” etc. are also made. The many “ifs” in scripture. “If I don’t do ABC, then I won’t be forgiven by God.” To me, it’s manipulative and controlling basic human emotions. I know now from my relationship with God He doesn’t function out of a place of fear, guilt or shame, but rather it’s the broken system that is the church that spews the forgiveness narrative and the people who perpetuate it. 3. Blame through shared responsibility. Shared responsibility: Once you accept to offer forgiveness, regardless if it’s for yourself or the other person, toxic individuals will use your forgiveness against you. I used to get mad when people used to use my forgiveness against me to continue to harm. This tactic is used to make you feel like the relationship fails because of shared responsibility. When, in fact, you never had a chance to make it at all. In turn, the blame gets shifted over to you as if you’re the one who inflicted the trauma instead of the abuser. Like the reason why the abuse keeps happening is because of something you did. At some point, the victim gets tired of living in the cycle. The cycle gets predictable. It’s obvious they don’t want to change and forgiveness is to buy time. 4. Toxic positivity. “Oh, it didn’t look that bad.” “But it made you stronger.” “There are two sides to every story.” Or, my personal favorite: “Without it you wouldn’t be who you are today.” These are oh-too-common phrases used to minimize and dismiss trauma. Most people are not asking you to fix anything, but rather be with them safely after their experience. By using an obligatory positive outlook on life, it fundamentally encourages a person to be silent and internalize their struggles. This manifests a negative connection with how we view difficult emotions. The more we withdraw from our boundaries, the more we reinforce our perceived helplessness to experience these times of emotional reactions. Therefore, when negative emotions happen by an individual who uses toxic positivity, they are more likely to experience shame associated with feeling them. 5. Moral high ground. Those who can be forgiving are often viewed as people taking the moral high ground. Many times, we see them as peacemakers. When victim-shamers deflect your pain with sayings like, “You’re acting from a place of hurt, you’re bitter or just be the bigger person,” it’s not because your pain is not valid, but that they are uncomfortable and cannot sit in it themselves. I believe most of the time, forgiving others is a total lie. It is not real. We all can put on a fake façade. We sloppily project our insecurities on others, transform the lies into a livable truth and live a fake life. We are deceiving ourselves first, then we bring others along for the ride. It takes effort to become real again. At the end of the day, no amount of therapy, morning meditation, religious bypassing or toxic positivity was able to fully pull me out of the nosedive I’d spiral into every time I realized forgiveness just wasn’t going to come. Because when we are wounded, no one else can measure what thwarts our threshold of unforgivable, and only we can decide if forgiveness will help or hurt. Ditching the forgiveness narrative and adopting boundary setting has set me free from hurt, shame, guilt and anxiety. And opened me up to much healthier relationships, not only with myself, but with those around me. Disclaimer: Abusive relationships are complex filled with trauma bonding. Experiences do differ, especially when resources are considered. This is in no way a victim-blaming post, but a post to get people to reflect on how forgiveness can be used as a tool to continue to hurt them.