You’re Getting Sleepy(er)

Another Sjogren’s Treatment?

Question mark c

Happy spring Sjoggie-mates. While the seasons change, our poor state of chronic health issues pretty much stay the same (or so it often seems). Just like you, I am always in ‘search for Sjogren’s cure’ mode. And also just like you, I’ve tried many of the treatments we hear about. 

Whether it is a new diet, medication, acupuncture, massage, etc., so far I have not happened onto the magic bullet that launches me into any kind of state that resembles recovery or remission. But it does not stop me from searching.

Self-Help

The words self-help pretty much personify who we are as advocates for our own health, especially with the illness of Sjogren’s Syndrome. However, the self-help I am referring to are the efforts that we can personally implement to help our own condition. We have heard or even read some of the self-help books that are out there that give us guidance on how to be the best we can be; find the perfect diet; mend relationships and the like, but do these types of efforts work when we are looking for a physical solution to our chronic illness conditions?

The answer is yes, they can. Specifically, I have been focused and researching for awhile now, how our state of mind can affect our health either in the negative or in the positive. I have become convinced that the strong message of “We are what we create or think we are“, is very accurate. If we are hyper-focused on how bad we feel and have an attitude that we will never get better, then we can be sure that; that will be our outcome. 

What About Hypnosis?

Self hypnosis C

 

I have started researching meditation and hypnosis. I found that there were 13 studies (and probably more) which looked at hypnotherapy for chronic pain and whether it worked? The chronic pain that patients presented with came from various organ/body systems. It was shown that hypnosis interventions consistently produce significant decreases in pain associated with a variety of chronic pain problems.

So what is hypnosis? Many of us probably immediately think of a hypnotist on stage who asks a group from an audience to come up on some type of stage, be hypnotized and then asked to do silly things which make the audience laugh. But there is a real, therapeutic side to hypnosis and it’s ability to heal/help people. 

The official definition of hypnosis is that it is a natural state of selected focused attention and reduced peripheral awareness & enhanced capacity to respond to suggestion. During hypnosis, a person is said to have heightened focus & concentration.

black and white swirly pic

 

The Great News

Just like all of you, it seems that every Sjogren’s intervention/treatment out there has a $$ price tag attached to it. We get tired of shelling out money for treatments that don’t help, don’t we?! Guess what? You can try hypnosis for FREE. Now this is one thing about the internet that we can appreciate! For the brief few moments it takes to do a search on YouTube.com, you will be presented with several hypnosis videos to try in the comfort of your home for free. I don’t know about you, but I love this!

Already, I have found hypnosis for chronic pain; depression; being more positive; losing weight; sleeping better, etc. Each night about an hour or so before I go to bed, I plan to listen to my hypnosis video of choice. I used to be so hyper that I did not think that there was any way I could possibly be hypnotized by anyone. Sjogren’s fatigue has changed that. Afterall, most of function in a semi-coma state most of the time, so we’re almost there already.

hypnosis in the brain

 

Does It Work?

I don’t know yet. I have only done it for 2 or 3 nights at this point. What I do know is that these hypnosis videos are very relaxing. I have my eye mask that I put on (you may remember my mask from my Rome trip blog post…the one that looks like a black bra from Victoria’s Secret). I turn out my bedroom light and proceed to focus on my breathing and  the hypnotic suggestions. I figure..what have I got to lose? (Hopefully a few pounds and some chronic pain at the very least). And friends…again…it’s FREE…we love free!! More importantly, there is study data supporting the use of hypnosis for many conditions.

It Never Hurts To Try

 

swinging pocketwatch

The way that I look at it and most things..is that it does not hurt to try and it may really help. I think I am pretty safe in saying that consistency will be the key here. There is no doubt in my mind that it will be necessary to maintain the hypnosis practice on a regular basis to see and maintain benefit. I’m okay with that. I think that we can try the free Youtube options available to us and if it begins to help, we can always go to a bonafide hypnotist in our local area who can personalize the hypnosis to our individual needs. Did I mention it is FREE!!

My fellow Sjoggie-mates, I am greatly encouraged that there are so many studies being done about Sjogren’s, big pharma is starting to figure out we Sjoggies are a goldmine opportunity. These things, however will take awhile to come to fruition. So in the interest of Sjoggie self-help, we have nothing to lose. If you decide to join SjoDry in any hypnosis efforts, please reach out and share your experiences with me/us. I would love to know what is working for you. If you identify a particularly helpful hypnotist online/youtube (I like Michael Sealey so far), please share.

Until next time…

I’m Getting Sleepy…

 

 

Posted in And the research says..., Searching for Answers | Tagged | 2 Comments

What About The Opiate NON-ABUSERS?

Some Of Us Don’t Abuse Opiates!

This is a topic that really bothers me, mainly because I fall into the group of non-abusing opiate users. I recently came across a very well written article by a Pharmacist, Jason Poquette. Jason in the author of The Honest Apothecary. I think Jason did a great job of nailing this issue and am thankful that someone is verbalizing it, even if not many folks are listening.

pills and pill bottle

 

Opioid Nonabusers: An Inconvenient Truth

APRIL 11, 2016

It seems as though every state in the country is passing laws intended to address our opioid addiction and overdose problem.

Make no mistake about it: this is a big problem. The American Society of Addiction Medicine has reported that drug overdose is “the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with 47,055 lethal drug overdoses in 2014. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 18,893 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers.”

Leaders in health care, government, and law enforcement are all scrambling to find ways to slow down the flow of opioids from both legal and illegal sources.

For instance:

  • Recently passed federal legislation appropriated more funding to addiction treatment and education.
  • New York moved to an all electronic prescribing system in part to make prescription diversion more difficult.
  • Massachusetts passed laws limiting initial opioid prescriptions to 7 days and making addiction counseling in emergency rooms a requirement in certain circumstances.
  • Ohio passed laws mandating the use of its state prescription monitoring program for opioid prescriptions involving doses that exceed 7 days.

To be clear, I support all efforts to prevent drug addiction, educate patients and prescribers, and offer more treatment options to those who wish to break the horrible cycle of addiction and abuse. But in the midst of all the discussion on how to reduce opioid prescribing and abuse, there seems to be awkward silence when it comes to the largest group of opioid users: nonabusers.

Nonabusers comprise the largest group of opioid users in our nation by far. These are the patients who are legally receiving opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine and are taking them as prescribed for pain.

The typical nonabuser saw a single prescriber for his or her opioid. They take their medication on schedule, or less frequently than allowed. When nonabusers use opioids for acute or postsurgical pain, they’re doing so to enable greater mobility and physical therapy, permitting a faster recovery and return to a better quality of life. When they stop taking these medications, they rarely ever need them again.

This describes the majority of opioid users.

For instance, around 207 million prescriptions were written for opioids in 2013, according to IMS Health data. That same year, there were about 14,000 deaths from opioid-related overdoses, according to the National Institutes of Health.

You could do all sorts of things with those statistics, but it’s simply a mathematical reality that for every 14,785 opioid prescriptions written, 1 individual died by abusing the medication. Of course, this sort of analysis isn’t very helpful, as it doesn’t take into consideration the number of opioids involved in deaths that came from nonprescription sources such as robberies or illegal importation.

Suffice it to say that more than 99% of prescriptions for opioids are written for nonabusers. Should all of those prescriptions have been written? Probably not, but that doesn’t change the fact that most of those patients aren’t abusing opioids.

It looks like we’re too afraid to speak up on behalf of the nonabusers. We’re too busy trying to assign blame to drug manufacturers, prescribers, and pharmacists. Meanwhile, very few individuals are speaking out about how opioids actually provide life-restoring pain relief to millions of patients.

If we said that most patients use opioids without becoming addicted, it would appear as though we’re blaming the addicted patient for the problem, which isn’t politically correct. I’m not blaming the addicted patient, either. What I’m saying is that statistically speaking, they comprise the vast minority of patients who use opioids. We’re writing laws and imposing rules to help manage the 1%, but in this case, I’m okay with that.

It almost seems as though opioid nonabusers are an inconvenient truth. The millions of patients who take their medications appropriately with stable dosing and have visited the same prescrber and pharmacy for years are almost supposed to be ignored. You can pretend that they don’t exist, but they’re the elephant in the room.

Still, the 14,000 deaths related to opioid overdose is 14,000 too many. I believe that our society should employ resources to help prevent addiction wherever possible and aid addicted patients in their recovery.

But I also believe that the vast majority of patients are taking opioids responsibly and that the majority of health care providers prescribe these drugs cautiously and carefully. Addicted patients need our help, but nonabusers need it, too, and health care professionals and politicians should stand up for them, as well.

Nonabusers often bear stigma and are sometimes made to feel like outcasts when they’ve done nothing wrong. I don’t think that’s fair, and I’m willing to speak up on their behalf.

elephant S

I am the elephant in the room.

SjoDry and Frustrated

Posted in Patient Pet Peeves, Random, Support, Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

Ask Your Doctor If ____Is Right For You

Ever Heard That Before?

iStock_Rx_Drugs

 

At the end of a long exhausting day, I appreciate the opportunity to sit down and “chill” as my kids say. As empty nesters, my husband & I have fallen into a routine of eating our dinner on our TV trays in front of the news and other programming. Now I won’t apologize for enjoying my TV time because I have earned and need it. But I will tell you that I am enjoying “regular” TV less and less because I see more pharmacy ads and less of my favorite TV shows. Is it just me? It feels like the majority of commercials that I see are touting a new medication.

Thankfully, our kids gave us a fancy Amazon Fire TV box for Christmas. Admittedly, it is cool and we are still trying to figure it out. We have lots of choices for movies and TV series that frankly, we never knew existed. It has turned out to be the gift that we did not realize that we needed. There is one striking realization that has occurred to us since utilizing this gadget. We have confirmed what we always suspected before, the length of TV shows are very short and commercials occupy the majority of programming time.

It seems that any time I turn on TV no matter what time of day or night, I never land on a TV show in progress. And mostly I just see commercials, the majority of which are mostly medication commercials.

About The Meds…

handful of pills

Let’s See if any of these ring a bell. Allow me to create a vision for you:

Does That Ring A Bell

It was a warm spring night. We arrived at what would prove to be an Eliquis night of fun. The event was both a fundraiser and party to Celebrex a good cause. As we approached the gala, I could smell the fragrant Hyacinths and Humira. We could hear the sounds of old familiar Lyrica being played by the band. They offered dancing and Yaz, even a California Shag for those who could Abilify with ease. Of course after having a drink or two of Xeljanz, I can never resist dancing to certain songs. If I over-do however, I can always count on a sore Latuda the next day. Somehow I always manage to hang on until the last song the band plays. Let’s face it, dressing up on occasion and attending such a function has a great Effexor on all of us. And just because I dress up in my fancy attire does not make me an Opdivo. In fact, the Rexulti is just the opposite. I often leave these functions knowing that my participation has helped a good cause, and that’s a feeling that will Neulasta. But a word of caution, on occasion the excessive partying toasts and celebration of a job well-done can lead to a serious case of Tamiflu the next day.

Funny dancing pic

My Point?

guy asking doctor a question

Where do these drug companies come up with these medication titles? If I am being honest, I am more entertained by the names than the content of the commercials..at least until all of the warnings about the medication start. These commercials are typically emotion-heavy and light on facts. Also, the images frequently confuse me on many of the commercials. My husband & I are still trying to figure out why the heck the two people are sitting side-by-side in matching bath tubs. What is interesting to me is that pharmaceutical ad spend is somewhere in the 4.5 billion dollar range. I am not sure who these commercials are benefiting? Perhaps the corporate lawyers have told their pharmaceutical employers that due to potential liability, they must put these commercial warnings on TV, I am sure that I don’t know.

Have You Listened To These Warnings?

Side Effects CartoonR

 

In reality these medication warnings are scary, particularly if you or someone you know experiences them. But to listen to them being presented in rapid gunfire succession almost makes you wonder if you’re being punked..like who would want to try some of these drugs?

  • May cause depression or If your depression worsens
  • If you experience changes in behavior or have thoughts of suicide..really? Yikes!
  • If you have a high fever; stiff muscles & confusion; uncontrollable muscle movements; chest pain; digestive problems; painful swallowing or joint pain..

Geez, I have to ask myself if maybe the side effects are worse than my original medical issue(s). Or maybe that is the point! These companies are doing us a favor by pointing out that we may potentially have it a lot worse..just look at all of these possible side effects we COULD have if we take their drug.

And of course..the ultimate warning: Taking __________may have an increased risk of stroke or DEATH. Holy Smokes…these kinds of warning just make me want to live with the problem. It kind of sounds like a crap-shoot anyway, might as well err on the side of caution and L-I-V-E!

Anyway, for all of my Sjoggie-Mates and chronically ill friends out there, we already have most of those symptoms anyway..so we are not looking to increase or exacerbate them.

little mouse

And Guess What?

These commercials tell us to go ask our physicians if __________medication is appropriate for us? Again, this is a critical miss for the people who have created these commercials. Because this would assume that our physicians give us enough time to ask questions, which many do not. Patients who are able to ask this kind of question of their physician just annoy the physician. I get it. They have had multiple patients coming in daily asking if the medication that they saw on TV last night would be a good one to try.

Let’s face it..professional/chronically ill patients (defined as patients who have learned how to advocate for themselves and do not experience intimidation from doctors or others for standing up for themselves) know better than to squander their tiny window of appointment time by asking silly TV commercial meds questions.

So what’s a person to do? Avoid these drugs at all costs or live dangerously and take a chance? Or probably the same thing that most of do anyway (or should do) research any medication before starting to take it. And meanwhile, try to enjoy the fierce pharma barrage of commercials with the humor that they have earned.

What's The AnswerR

In addition to your own sources of medication research, I will add that I have a site that I like to visit to check out medications. The site is: AskAPatient.com. This site includes medications from A ~ Z and random people’s responses to them (good, bad or the jury is still out). Individuals complete a form about the medication they took or are currently taking and then indicate whether the medication has been helpful or otherwise. Some would argue that this type of information is completely anectdotal, but I find it helpful, particularly for newer medications which have not been in the market very long.

Until Next Time…

When in doubt do your research

SjoDry and Smiling

Posted in HUMOR, Random, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Sjogren’s Journey

 The Road We Take

Greetings Sjoggie-Mates, long time..no post. I generally post only when I feel that I have something to say or can contribute in some way to our health (even if it’s only a laugh). Lately, however, I have not had a lot to say, nor have I had a lot of energy to say it.

I will share that the fatigue monster continues to inhabit my body without invitation. While I am as tired of this never-ending chronic illness journey as you are, I am trying to be more mindful of my attitude and mind-set.

I have been doing a great deal of reading about how our attitude has much more to do with our health than most people realize. That is, our thoughts create our reality.

Deja-Vu

Do you find yourself ever waking up (every day) already thinking: About the terrible day you have ahead; this or that hurts; you slept terribly..so your day will be awful, your exhausted before you even start your day, etc… Unfortunately, we all live our chronic and painful realities 24/7 and it can be difficult to not fall into this negative thinking.

Smart people have done lots of studies on how our thoughts really do create our realities and can greatly effect our health in a negative way. So what would happen if you decided to declare that you are going to have an amazing day every morning when you wake up?!

It's a bad day not a bad lifeR

SjoDry’s Morning Shower

Water pouring from a shower head

Think Positive!

I have started a new routine. Thankfully, my morning shower has long been established. I am referring to the mental discussion I have with myself while in the shower. Typically, it consists of a ticker list of all of the things I need to get done that day, which obviously do not have anything to do with being positive or negative and how I will go about the business of my day. But in  my reading, I read about an idea that I have adopted. The idea is to visualize the shower water washing away all of your negativity and showering you only with positivity and light.

I say things to myself like: I will have a great day today; Let everything I think, do, or say be positive; Let me be helpful to all of the people that I interact with today; I will see only the positive of other’s contributions; I will feel very energetic and productive today; My pain will be less today..and other things along those lines. Does it work? Yes! Obviously, my SS and pain don’t leave, but this process of starting my day in a very positive way, helps me to be more productive and focus far less on how badly I feel.

Perspective

The other thing that I am doing is trying to make peace with my Sjogren’s. How does that happen you ask? Again, it is a deliberate mind-set. We have all heard someone say..”There are folks who are far worse off than we are” and it is true. But when you are the one who is totally entrenched in your own painful experience, it is not always easy to remember those others who have it worse than we are experiencing.

I have tried to change my thinking about Sjogren’s and why I have it. Is God trying to punish me? No. Just luck of the draw? Probably not. What if Sjogren’s Syndrome or any other chronic health problem came into our lives for the purpose of providing a lesson(s) to us?

What We Learn From Having Sjogren’s Syndrome

LearnR

Living the life of a Sjogren’s patient has taught me:

  • To be more compassionate to others who are suffering painful medical conditions
  • Sjogren’s and chronic illness are not who I am
  • I have learned that doctors are not the supreme professionals that I counted on to heal me
  • I have learned that Sjogren’s can bring people together with a shared bond
  • I have most definitely learned that I must advocate for myself
  • I have learned that life is not over because I have Sjogren’s
  • Sjogren’s has taught me that one of the best things I can do for myself is to help others
  • Sjogren’s has been my supreme instructor in learning to be a more patient person
  • Sjogren’s has taught me that I am a much stronger person than I gave myself credit for
  • I have discovered that I can still be productive & work, regardless of the quantity of my output

I won’t continue to list all of the daily lessons I have learned and continue to learn from Sjogren’s, but they are definitely life lessons that will forever stay with me.

Acceptance

I am fond of saying, ” It is what it is,” but with Sjogren’s, it is really the truth. I was forced to accept this Sjogren’s intruder which forced itself into my life whether I wanted it or not. I cannot change it, but Lord knows that I have tried. It just seems to me that making the best peace that I can with my Sjogren’s is a healthier approach than being angry and hyper-focused  on how bad it is. Afterall, being constantly focused on your Sjogren’s condition, can contribute to high blood pressure, anxiety, depression and other symptomology.

Eye Message

Just Add Drops

Making peace with your Sjogren’s does not mean than you stop trying to find answers that can help your quality of life and self-management of the condition. Just don’t give it the power to control your life. There are some silver linings with Sjogren’s, you just have to add more eye drops to see them.

It’s Your Life

You are the only one who can control how you deal with whatever comes your way. I refuse to let Sjogren’s rob me of anything more than it has. It may have my body, but it does not have my mind…well not all of my mind. I still control the attitude part.

Text Scale

So I say..take a look at all of the wonderful things in your life. The blessings far outweigh the negative events. Think about what positive things that Sjogren’s has done for you? And by all means..love your life no matter what!

Hug Your LifeR

SjoDry and Thinking

Posted in Random, Searching for Answers, Support, Symptoms | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Time To Vote..

The Co-Morbid Disease of Our Presidential Election

Sjogren’s Syndrome and our Presidential Election Season share similar symptoms. Let me start by saying that I hate politics. Has it always been that way? No. There was a time many years ago when I actually still thought that my vote counted and I was helping to make positive changes to our society. At some point however, it became clear to me that my thoughts, feelings and desires as a U.S. citizen are really meaningless. I finally decided that I could effect no change or help make a difference, and as a result became very apathetic where politics are involved. I like putting my efforts where I know I can make a difference.

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Can You Relate?

Through the years I have watched politicians attack, denigrate, throw mud at each other and worse. I did align with a party many years ago for the few times I decided to vote. I have even had a few friends or acquaintances react with horror when I said that I hate politics and don’t vote. They quickly reminded me that I could not complain if I did not like the way things were going. Hello…when I did complain, no one listened or cared. See apathetic.

I started thinking about Sjogren’s symptomology and our country’s political symptomology and how they are alike. Let’s compare the two:

  1. Both are chronic
  2. Both can (and are for many) debilitating
  3. There is no cure
  4. There are few effective medications
  5. They are both painful
  6. There is a lot of distrust with both (doctors who don’t believe us ~ politicians we don’t believe)
  7. Both are fatigue-producing
  8. Both can be depression-producing
  9. There are lots of sub-par professionals who know little about either
  10. Both make us victims

 

And So It Goes..

So here I am like all of you…trapped in the political firestorm of all of our lifetimes. We are amazed, we are appalled, we are disgusted,  we are in shock and it is definitely ‘Reality TV’ at it’s absolute worst. Just when we think it can’t get any worse, another batch of flaming arrows are shot.

And we common citizens of this diplomatic society are even seeing our relationships effected. Family members and “friends” are tense around those who do not share the same political views. Social media is infected with snarling commentators who are attacking like a bad swarm of locusts. It seems as if everyone is loaded and ready to fire with their arsenal of arguments to any intruder who infringes on their hallowed political ground with anything less that raging support for the candidate they support.

But A Funny (Not In A HaHa Way) Thing Happened..

Me..SjoDry..the least political person you will ever meet has gotten sucked into this abyss (and almost over Thank God) political election season. How you ask? I will tell you. As you all know my fellow Sjoggies, our serious and chronic medical condition(s) is/are expensive. I won’t launch into all of the minutiae here. But for the sake of this post, I am going to share a few specifics.

Like many of you, I require multiple specialists for my various organ systems that have been attacked by Sjogren’s Syndrome. I routinely have doctor’s visits, tests/MRI’s and take a lot of medicines, as well as over-the-counter medicines and supplements.I should add that I have a severe immune deficiency called Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID) for which I must take IVIG infusions every other weekend. These infusions cost over $5000 each. Because of this, it was necessary for me to choose a comprehensive insurance policy for just myself (no one else in my family). I should also add that two years ago when I obtained this policy, it cost me $750.00 PER MONTH. I searched for help from non-profits to help me defray the costs of my ridiculously expensive insurance. Thank God I was able to find a non-profit related to the specific brand of infusion medicine that I take, which helped the first year I had the policy.

scanning-a-bill

Now Where Are The Benefits?

In spite of the help, we still struggled to pay the premiums because we felt that I could not get by on a less comprehensive policy.  Then the Obamacare insurance program was passed. We were immediately informed that 2 of the policies that my husband and our employee had would not qualify under the Obamacare program. So we had to re-structure how we previously offered insurance to our employee and re-shop those policies for the only policies that we could find (more expensive ones).By the way, so many of the insurance companies have now dropped out of the marketplace, that Pennsylvanians have two insurance company choices.  At that same time we were contacted by our insurance provider, we were informed that my policy rate was changing and would go from $750.00 per month, to $950.00 PER MONTH!  We thought seriously at that time about changing policies. Of course you all know what a hassle it is to change policies, try to find a policy that will allow you to keep ALL of your multiple specialists and Rheumatologist that you require and a policy that would approve the same type of infusion medicine that I require. No easy feat. We decided that since we were receiving some help from the non-profit organization, we would keep the astronomically expensive policy. That worked fine..until a few months later when we were contacted by the non-profit and informed that I no longer qualified for their help. (We are self-employed and our earnings fluctuate).

And Now….

In between all of the ugly political ads, debates and snarling political party-warriors, I received a letter from my insurance company last week. My policy will be changing. The deductible has gone up significantly for the same coverage and the price will now be: Are you ready for this? $1450.00 PER MONTH!!!! A whopping 57% increase.

So there it is folks, I have no choice but to vote in this election. Everyone has their own reasons for the candidate that they have chosen. And I, my Sjoggie-Mates, have just shared with you, mine.

lady-voting

Reluctantly I Will Vote

Looking forward to November 9th and beyond…I think.

May the polls go the way you want them to.

SjoDry

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A FREE Prescription For Wellness

Mindfulness

Greetings fellow Sjoggie-Mates. Awhile back I wrote a post about: “Are We Our Signature Lines?”  Essentially I questioned whether or not my Sjogren’s/Chronic Illness defines me. I am not quite sure what I decided at that time, but I have been giving it a whole lot of thought and consideration (which is where I have been for the last two months since my last post).

I am a person not just a diagnosis

I was moved to start reading and researching about ” Mindfulness.” Have you ever met someone who is the happiest, kindest, friendliest, most patient, peaceful & positive person you think you’ve ever known? I have and I am married to him (lucky me!) I have always said to my friends, family & myself, that my husband is my role model. I love all of those wonderful attributes about him and others I meet who possess the same.

I have never really thought of myself as a “negative” person. I mean we can all look around and point our fingers at someone who is always negative and sees the glass half empty no matter what. Afterall, it is much easier to make a judgement about someone else rather than to take an honest assessment and magnifying glass of our own behaviors and characteristics..right?!

it-wont-work

An Honest Look At Yourself

I think that we should all take a close look at ourselves and where our attitudes reside.I say this, not in an effort to point out our personal flaws, but as a way to examine how much our mental attitudes effect our wellness.  I don’t think… I know that after years and years of chronic illness for as long as I can remember, my attitude slants heavily to the negative. And those negative tendencies tend to insidiously (just like the chronic illness of Sjogren’s) permeate my attitudes and approaches to other aspects of my life (personal and business).

I have to ask myself, as I think we should all do, how well these negative tendencies and responses are serving us? It is likely that we have all heard how much of a role a positive attitude plays in our healing and day-to-day functioning. I don’t know about you, but I have done a poor job of internalizing that reality..and it is a reality.

Winnie The Pooh

And The Survey Says…

Evaluate. Take a good, hard look at how you react and respond to the daily events and situations that you find yourself in. Cut off in traffic…what’s your response? Large appliance repair with limited finances, what’s the first thing out of your mouth? Huge doctor bills and insurance hassles…what’s your attitude? Never-ending pain and medicines that only marginally help or not at all, how’s that feel ? The new doctor you just saw, treated you like a neurotic head case…what thoughts ran through your mind? Your friend or family member pushing your hot buttons, how do you react? Do you see what I mean? We are all bombarded with daily situations and events that require us to choose our responses and attitudes to them. And yes…it is a choice.

These life situations happen every day to every one of us, but they do not have to automatically generate a snarling, ‘victim-is-me’ attitude. With the daily assault of life’s challenges, it is easy to see how we can all slide into a negative mode of functioning without our even realizing it. And let’s face it, chronic illness, just by virtue of everything that goes with it, is mostly negative. Most of us function on auto-pilot and for the most part, hardly look at how our mental state contributes to our physical health (at least this is true for many folks.)  And unfortunately, the “keeping a positive attitude “ is not an occasional proposition. It doesn’t work unless we keep it and use it every day for everything we face. It needs to drive our lives in every thing that we do.

Have you ever noticed that when we go through our days..we tend to focus on the negative as opposed to the positive things that happen to us? Instead of focusing and sharing the positive events of our day..we pour out the horrible day we had like machine gun rapid fire to our spouses, significant others, friends or anyone who will listen. I think our media/social media sensationalize the negative and I can be guilty of that as well. And all of that negative, poor me stuff (day after day) has a way of shaping us into the overly negative people we really did not intend or want to be…can you relate? Has this happened to you?

So What’s The Answer?

 

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Well, as they say, recognizing that there is a problem is part of the battle. So I suggest a lot of self-examination and introspection is in order. I am in that mode now and am discovering some wide-eyed revelations about myself. I also think that one has to commit to change. It is not easy to un-do years (or a lifetime) of negative conditioning. So why should we do this, what’s the benefit? As a Sjogren’s patient and support group leader, I am always researching Sjogren’s treatments and research developments to pass on to other Sjoggies. I know all of the gold standard medication treatments. Also, I see suggested autoimmune protocol/other diets and recommended herbs/ supplements. But what I don’t see emphasized,  are ways that we can contribute to our own healing. The medical model as it exists, put us in the position of patient (victim). We are led to rely on western medicines and treatments. Yet, one of the most effective ways that we can help ourselves, which I might add is FREE, is not routinely talked about. And I am not talking about one of your doctors suggesting that you see a counselor, as many of us have heard. Because that can feel a lot like a slap in the face depending upon how it is presented. I am talking about a physician who truly understands and conveys the importance of maintaining a positive attitude for healing. There is a difference in how those words are presented to us and how we receive and act on them.

Serious Consideration

If you are finding yourself thinking Wow…maybe I am more negative than I realized, perhaps it is time to make a few changes. I will state the obvious, making a personal commitment to be more positive in your life, will never be a bad thing. But it could serve to make effective strides toward healing and how you accept and deal with your chronic illness on a daily basis.What would happen if each time you found yourself angry, frustrated, depressed, critical, fatalistic, fearful, etc., you stopped in that moment and asked yourself where is the emotion coming from? Also, ask yourself: Is this emotion serving me well? I read something a long time ago, that has helped me through the years in such moments. The piece that I read told me to ask myself in those challenging moments or times that I was anticipating or experiencing something bad..” What’s the worst thing that can happen?”  Of course my negative mindset had loads of far-fetched scenarios that I could fill in the blank with. However, even the absolute worst scenario could happen and the conclusion is the same..there is nothing I can do about it because I have NO CONTROL over it. If it is going to happen, it will happen. And it is likely that whatever happens or has happened will not be the end of the world as I know it. So why waste time with it. Being negative and anticipating the worst, negative outcome that my overly active brain & imagination can come up with does not help me move forward, face problems effectively or help my physical healing.

Affordable Change

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Guess what? Making positive attitude changes has never been so easy. I have read about 6 books in the last few months..books that I bought on Amazon for one penny with a small shipping charge. I even got one book on my kindle a couple of nights ago..for FREE. I have also added meditation with healing imagery to my life changes. I find it very relaxing and wish I had started it years ago.

SjoDry RX

The bottom line is that you are the only one who can make positive changes in your life. No, you can’t control your diagnosis(es), but you can control your coping responses and attitude in general.  And there is no point in being miserable in  both body and attitude, right?!

So here’s to making positive changes in your life!

Namaste (I Bow To You)

SjoDry and Relaxed

 

 

 

 

Posted in Random, Searching for Answers, Uncategorized | 3 Comments