For life's little ups and downs.

A rather quirky, funny and sometimes daunting look in to the life of someone who has a lot of health problems but does their best to keep positive. Punctuated by guinea pigs, anime, superheroes, transforming robots and cross stitching.

I started this blog to tell my story, about who I am and what I do. On top of the health problems and raising awareness for those, I also use my blog as a way to help promote other causes, particularly ones which affect the most vulnerable. I live with a number of different and complex health problems but I refuse to let anything get me down. I know how it feels to be discriminated against or thrown aside. This is me. This is my life. I live it and do what I want with it. Nature sets the limitations. We set the boundaries.

About Me:

A blog about life. I live with Bi-Polar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as well as Type 1 Brittle Asthma, Various Allergies, Neutropenia, Chronic IBS, Osteo and Rheumatoid Arthritis, PCOS and Osteoporosis and Heredetary Spastic Paraplegia. I live with these conditions, but I refuse to let them keep me down and out. I still try and make the most of my days despite being so poorly and having to rely on my wheelchair, nebulisers, nearly 50 pills a day and 2l/min of oxygen.

I'll flap my broken wings and erase it all someday... You'll see.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Spring? Hope.

Looks like spring has sprung and the weather here is sunny and bright. I'm so glad that last month's PIP was used to get a new tower fan as my old one from the flat gave up the ghost but it's not surprising as most stuff there was afflicted by the dampness that lingered in the air. Probably due to the retrofitted back door and the damp course removed. Also buying a dehumidifier device has helped us as well. It's funny, when it was delivered, I looked at the small machine and thought "this is probably too small to do much." but I stand corrected. It's only a little device but the effect has been extraordinary!  The next month will be about other smaller improvements. There's a few maintenance issues that need sorting out but that's all in hand and being sorted out. That's the best way around things is to nip them in the bud before they become huge issues.

This is just one of the few things I'm trying to change about my environment to help make it so that my home is a haven from the world outside and that the summer won't be so grueling on either of us really. I have never been able to cope with heat. Even before my asthma became such a major impact on my day to day life but the trick is to find a better way around it rather than complaining and eventually just annoying everyone. Maybe it's just part of my nature to change things if they aren't what I personally want rather than wallow in the less than nice parts. After all, who wants to read a blog that is nonstop moaning and griping? Make the best of it, of you do that like something, change it. Live the life you want to live, it's not about money​ or things, it's about good times. The best days are the days spent just being happy and enjoying being around the people I love. I long since for out of the habit of letting people demand what I do or making me feel inferior for whatever​ reasons.

I've been occupying myself with a lot of sewing recently. I find it really relaxes me and helps me to just chill. That and watching TV shows on YouTube. One show I miss was "How Clean is Your House?" as it was full of great little snippits of advice and tips that I actually use, like using water and lemon juice to steam clean a microwave, or making an air freshener with bicarb and lavender oil. I do prefer natural things over strong chemical cleaners as the natural is less likely to do my lungs in. Plus it's better for the animals as well. Having animals has been a rewarding thing and it is something that I will always continue to enjoy, although I can't have a dog which would have been a dream for me as my asthma wouldn't take it.

The animals are loving things here and it's nice to see when Yugi decides to pop all over the cage in that cute way they do. Watching Red nestle in his hay, he's really settled himself in. He's still skittish but I think he always will be, maybe in time, Yugi will teach him to trust humans better. Yugi used to be the skittish one but now he's the first to come and say hello. He's even friendlier when you bring him something to eat, whenever he gets given something he takes it with an appreciative purr. He's a well mannered guinea pig. Red is learning slowly but needs me to be patient and loving. Not unlike Kadaj, my first ever rescue pig who was subjected to evil people trying to feed him to a snake, after a year or so, he became as tame as a lamb and loved being cuddled. He recovered from his trauma and lived a life full of love and lots of food!

I think that having pets has been more helpful to me than anything. It helps a great deal knowing that no matter how badly I think I have messed up, Jace, my family and my animals will always be there to help and support me when I feel at my worst. And I know that I am lucky for that. Very lucky, because there's a lot of people who don't have that kind of support network despite going through their own hell. Some people would look at it and think about how hard their lives are but me, I like to look on the bright side and think that although things are rough sometimes (and trust me, these last few days have been a test of just how much my lungs can push) I have been through it. I will go through it again and I will survive and keep on fighting. I want to keep going. I want to hold on to hope that one day they may find a way of fixing this for me because without hope, what is there? 

I have it tattooed on my ankle too, a reminder that hope is there, no matter how you look at it. That tattoo is one of the ones that I feel is important to me, along with my Final Fantasy work (which I am planning to get sorted out) and other tattoos. They do each mean something different and each have an element of my own design in there too. My upper arm tribal was my first (10 years ago, it was re-done kindly by my tattooist) and is probably the one that people ask me about. I designed it during my AS Art modules and it signified my own coming of age. I had it originally done for my 18th birthday. I guess I find comfort in knowing that they are there and they remind me that I have overcome things in the past and will continue to do so. 

Loves
Wendy xx

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

My Coping Methods

My art is one of the things that I feel has made the biggest impact on my coping strategies. People ask me how I can sit for 14 hours straight sewing but honestly to me, when I focus on something that my whole body becomes involved with, it's like a holiday. A break from my illnesses and the not so good aspects of life. It doesn't go away completely but I find that putting the energy in to something positive makes me feel more grounded and not feel like a victim of some injustice. I have conditions but I choose not to suffer from them. There is a difference. I don;t think that this came down to some kind of punishment or recompense for any imagined slight, it just is as it is. It didn't "pick" me for any reason, it was just the way things panned out. To be honest, one positive I found of all of this was that it taught me to look at things differently, whereas like most young girls I was more interested in how things looked and getting worked up over the small stuff, rather than appreciating the small things that we all take for granted.

It comes down to how you look at things. I prefer to think about it as just part of life, not worrying over every twinge or every time my chest feels like it can't even take air in. Worrying can actually make you ill in itself, power of mind over matter, and it's all too easy to become obsessed with symptoms and all too common to sit there and Google a benign symptom and convince yourself that you're​ dying of some awful disease. Dr Google is a dangerous thing, go and see a real doctor instead who can give you expert advice. I work hard with my doctors to make sure that I'm getting the treatment I need, the care and support to stay alive and the best quality of life possible.

I'd be lying if I didn't admit that there have been (and will always be) days where I feel down or exhausted. Days where even the simplest task leaves me struggling and drained. There are plenty of those days and it's during those that it's more important than ever to try and keep a good attitude towards things and to remind myself that although things are sometimes difficult, they aren't impossible and sometimes they take longer than they would for someone without my difficulties. These are the days where having a coping strategy is the most important thing to have on your side. Something to keep your mind active and to enrich your day to day life. For example, I enjoy drawing, writing and am a huge craft fanatic. I love to see and have even recently brought a mini sewing machine, cute little gadget, to help me achieve more than ever.

My creative side started in music, I used to love singing along to the radio in the car and when I was 9, I started playing the flute. In my teens, I began playing piano and guitar. I've always seen music as colours, shapes and when I was younger, I used to follow them with my eyes while listening to my stereo in my room. I loved playing the flute, actually it was one thing I found hard to give up. The last time I played was before I moved out of my Mum's and my asthma was becoming more aggressive, it always was volatile but it was only after my 21st birthday that things just went haywire. The last 8 years has seen a very real decline and leads up to where we are today. I think that the importance of having ways to cope has been what has kept me going through it. 

I've always enjoyed drawing, I won't say that I'm a professional by any stretch but the things I draw are meaningful and often colourful. I think that drawing takes me back to my childhood, when I used to get brought crayons and felt tip pens by my Nan and Aunty Rose and would spend hours drawing pictures while watching videos (my favourite one at my Nan's was probably the Thomas one called "Coal") while my Mum, Nan and Aunty would be sitting in the room chatting. I remember that it always felt like I was in a safe little bubble and I could freely express myself without someone interfering or ripping my pictures up, dismissing them as "silly bits of paper" (my "Dad" never really encouraged my creative side, even though it was likely to have come from his side, my grandfather was apparently a tattoo artist). I think that when I moved to Rising Brook and selected my GCSE subjects, I had to take Art. It helped me through tough times too, especially when I was sent to have therapy for my depression at 15. When I draw, I'm back in that safe place and nothing can get to me. My Mum and Nan taught me to sew and my friend Georgina's Mum, Robbie, nurtured a desire to learn cross stitch. 

I now spend most days working with a needle and thread, it's demanding sometimes but I love it. Seeing it come together after spending days, weeks or even months on something is rewarding. My Dissidia Sephiroth piece is something that I always show people as it took me 3 months of work, even through the emotional upheaval of suddenly moving from the flat to the bungalow. That move wasn't easy as it was literally a case of one day things are normal, then the next I'm viewing a property and a week later I moved in. 13,000 individual crosses make up the piece and I felt like I was glowing as I mounted and framed it. Now it's prominent in my living room. 

This place has become a wonderful home, full of love and warmth. It feels as safe as I felt when we were at my Nan's and it's the best thing to hold on to.

Loves
Wendy xx

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