Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Ruminations on being parentless for two years

Today is my independence day.

It's the celebration of starting to heal my mind, body, and soul.

It started with saying goodbye to my mother.

Growing up in an abusive home was hard. There aren't words to share enough of it all.

Thanks, Giphy!
I did meet my dad before the wedding. We're all busy and don't talk anywhere near as much as we should.

I am still left feeling very much like an orphan. It's not been easy to handle. I have had moments of weakness where I want my mother around... and then I remember it's the idealized version of a mother in a movie or on a show and not my mother.

Thanks, Giphy!
Note: not Kyle's mom.

Cutting contact with my mother helped me learn a lot about who I am as a person. I had to go through what I did and didn't like all over again. 

The Dave Matthews Band? No longer a like. 
Harry Connick Jr? Still a like but no longer a love.

I've gone through this with food, media, clothing, and more.

It's exhausting. I just had finished the period of my life where I should have had that all done when I cut contact. I had to do it twice.

And it was exhausting.

Before cutting contact, I blocked mother and her beau on social media and made some accounts private for a while. Part of that certainly was struggling with my compassion.

The issue is that I was, for a long time, too compassionate to others without being compassionate to myself.

This was evident when examining what led to my flares and other issues.

Very uncool.

Now, though, I am secure in myself.

I don't need my family of origin to complete me. I simply need my family of choice, the family I've made with you reading and T's family and my sister's family and close friends.

If my mother were to try to guilt me now? I would only have one reaction:

Thanks, Giphy!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Review of H Factor Hydrogen Water

This is a sponsored post. I was provided the product in exchange for an honest review, and I have been compensated for my time through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. All opinions remain my own and I was in no way influenced by H Factor or Chronic Illness Bloggers.

In the FAQs on their website, H Factor lists many articles related to the potential benefits of this water. There is also more information here for the curious. 

Some of the benefits listed on their website are:

"Studies have shown hydrogen water may help achieve peak performance, recover faster, increase blood circulation, helps skin care, relieves allergies & reduce inflammation."

The package is natural aluminium and much better for the environment than plastic. It's still recyclable and such, too. I will say, though, that this was not easy to open with painful hands. It was also quite awkward to hold at times as I was worried that I would squeeze too hard and spill the water everywhere since the package is pretty malleable. 

The size of the package was not a good size for my swollen hands, either.

Each bottle comes with its own plastic straw which was interesting. It felt as though that could be made more environmentally friendly somehow. 

The recommendation is to drink these within 30 minutes of opening to get the maximum effect.

The taste of this water is off just enough that you know this is not tap water. The taste is similar in off-ness to carbonated water, though this is far less bubbly than that.

I felt as though I should add a disclaimer on here that I am awful at drinking water. I could see the potential for me to feel better drinking two of these a day since I don't drink much at all... But then, within a few minutes of drinking some of this, I actually started to get dizzy, gassy, and pretty nauseous.

Hours later, once I got home from work, I was fairly sick to my stomach. I spent a lot of time in the bathroom or feeling quite queasy. I ended up sleeping on the couch one night due to nausea.

Needless to say, I did not drink another one of these waters. I'm still, frankly, recovering from the first one!

I can certainly see the potential that these could help some of us. After all, many items do help a variety of people whether or not that may be obvious or intuitive at first glance. I do have concerns over how helpful this could be. After all, even Livestrong has its concerns.

This was far too harsh on my GI tract to have any benefits for me whatsoever.

If you would like, you can connect with H Factor on their siteFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube

Monday, May 2, 2016

The #1 thing you have to do to be a 'good' patient

We often discuss the qualities we want to see in the perfect physician -  the compassionate one who comes in and just gets what you're going through.

What if we turned the tables?

What is the top quality that we need to be the best patients we can be?

Be present.

When I say 'be present' I don't mean that simply showing up will make you a great patient.

In my experiences with PTSD, I have had to learn to be present. I have to focus on the here and now in order to protect myself from the ifs, whens, and weres. 

When I say 'be present,' I mean to work on mindfulness, the practice that helps us to embrace the current moment.

Our physicians are busy. We are not their only patients. Depending on their practice and where it is located, they may be responsible for upwards of 2000 patients.

Their minds are often thinking through their to-do list for later, who they need to finish charts for while they work into the wee hours of the morning at home.

They may be thinking about the checklists we all create in our heads regarding diagnoses and other issues.

In order to get the best care from our physicians, sometimes we need to be here now.

We get busy, too. Perhaps we are juggling too much on our plates like our physicians do daily. 

That makes being present all the more important.

By being present and focused, we can ensure that we are actively engaged in conversations with our health care team.

If we are not, we may miss sharing important pieces of the diagnostic puzzle with our HCPs. They may miss asking questions that lead us there.

"But how, Kirsten, am I supposed to be focused when I have 8,225,953 things going on??"

Some people find making lists very helpful in the process of being present and focused on the task at hand. Others enjoy exploring mental and/or physical grounding techniques. There are other tips over on the resources page.

Meditation can help us to cultivate this presence and, more importantly almost, the ability to be kind to ourselves when we're not able to be as mindful and present as we like.

Do you practice mindfulness? Have you found it helps you with being present at appointments?