Category Archives: Silver Linings & Small Victories

Silver Linings and Small Victories.

This week:

I am grateful to be feeling better mentally. Less brain fog, and less down in the dumps.

I am grateful for plentiful and freely given cuddles and kisses and love and affection.

I am grateful for choice.

I am grateful for advocacy.

I an grateful for passion to right wrongs and the potential for change.

I am grateful for knowledge and insight and lived experience and expertise.

I am grateful for ease and grace.

I am grateful for radiant, glorious sunsets and the beautiful, healing, natural surrounds in which I find myself.

I am grateful for treats and spoiling myself; it happens rarely so I appreciate it all the more when it does!

I am grateful for progress. I have a couple of jobs I want to apply for, and have been stressing out massively over a lack of references (given my illness-related employment gap and that most of my study has been external) as well as anxiety over explaining my health issues in terms of my employment history and physical limitations. Then it hit me; I’m feeling well and able-bodied enough to be seriously considering working a couple of days a week. That’s huge, and a cause for celebration, not stress. Likely nothing will come of the applications, but I feel like submitting them will be a milestone nonetheless.

What are you feeling grateful for this week?

Silver Linings and Small Victories.

Another hard week, but heading in a better direction. So this week:

I am grateful for the discovery of new movies and songs that move me (sometimes literally, to dancing in my kitchen).

I am grateful for pain flares, because for all my catastrophising they are not, actually, the end of the world. I am grateful that I can and do manage them, and I am grateful that they pass.

I am grateful for the passing of the storm.

I am grateful for recovery after setbacks.

I am grateful for burgeoning wisdom.

I am grateful for improved coping skills.

I am grateful for chances to see how far I’ve come.

I am grateful for most of my lit review being written (although if I was suddenly gifted with the ability to write more succinctly, I would be grateful for that too!).

I am grateful for first cuddles with my nephew and the fact that he enjoyed them! I’m always terrified babies will bawl as soon as I hold them. I am also grateful for the smell of a baby’s head and teeny fingernails and podgy elbows and hope.

Silver Linings and Small Victories.

To be honest, I am having a terrible, horrible, no-good day. I’m miserable and in more pain than I have been for a while and panicking and hormonal. And I suspect, on days like this, it is even more important to be grateful. So here we go.

This week:

I am grateful for sunshine on my head and dirt under my feet.

I am grateful for making plans.

I am grateful for good stories to get lost in (I’m currently on a Juliet Mariller rampage; she’s one of my favourite authors, if anyone wants a fantasy rec).

I am grateful for my cat, her cuddles, and her purrs. She really is the cutest. If she wasn’t so hard to photograph (she’s all black except for five hairs on her chest) this blog would be plastered in pictures.

I am grateful for rain, cooling and calming.

I am grateful for seafood and bacon, because yum, and chocolate, always.

I am grateful for my patient man.

I am grateful for freshly made beds.

I am grateful for the exhausted relief that follows tears.

I am grateful for deep breaths.

How about you?

Silver Linings and Small Victories.

It’s been a while! I was having a hard time being grateful last week, and I decided not to force it, but I’m back and feeling better now, so here we go.

This week:

I am grateful for learning. The opportunity, the capacity, and the inclination.

I am grateful for my mum. She’s amazing. Even when she’s in worse shape than me (which is often – she has Complex Regional Pain Syndrome / Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy), she’s always worrying about me.

I am grateful for simple answers to complicated questions.

I am grateful for uncharacteristic nonchalance in the face of someone acting like I was an idiot.

I am grateful for surprisingly effortless interactions with someone who is often challenging to interact with.

I am grateful for help.

I am grateful for a secure home and a loving partner, and I am grateful for circumstances that remind me that things could be much more complicated.

I am grateful for cat cuddles, always.

I am grateful for delicious Paleo recipes (and, to be honest, ill-advised but delicious cheating in the form of Cadbury cream eggs).

I am grateful for eye-wateringly bright fuchsia, which I never wear but is my happy colour.

I am grateful for insomnia, because I awoke very early one morning, couldn’t get back to sleep, and spontaneously composed a full third of my literature review while laying in bed trying to get back to sleep. It’s not due for a month and that never happens to me.

I am disappointed that, in the State election that just passed, Labor (the party who was planning to make WA join in with the National Disability Insurance Scheme – we are currently the only Australian state not signed on and I am horrified) did not win. However, I am so, so grateful that I live in a democracy where I am able to vote, and my vote counts.

What are you grateful for?

Silver Linings and Small Victories.

Belated to include the long weekend this week. Yesterday was the first day back at uni, and between class, a supervisor meeting, travel, and a music festival, I was out of the house for 16 hours. I feel like lukewarm death today, and probably will be paying for it for a week, but I’m counting it as a victory (a big one!) because I did it and I didn’t die πŸ˜€ Also, A PERFECT CIRCLE WERE AWESOME!

In other good things, this week:

I am grateful for good days; although I’ve had fatigue and have been feeling low-grade-ill this week, my pain has been negligible (at least prior to yesterday), and that’s vastly preferable to dealing with everything at once.

I am grateful for my body’s muscle memory; my anxiety-relieving yoga routine is becoming habit and I’m becoming more able to relax my jaw, neck, and shoulders quickly when I get stressed, which seems to head off my more severe occipital neuralgia flares.

I am grateful for fleeting moments of confidence in my capacity to meet the challenges in my life (and would like to foster more).

I am grateful for miracle-find natural beauty products.

I am grateful to be able to move my body in ways that feel good to me.

I am grateful that I am developing the ability to be grateful to my body, and to love it now and then, instead of constantly berating it for not meeting a social ideal in appearance or function.

I am grateful for the (technical) end of summer (even though I know it will be another month or two until it actually cools down).

I am grateful for a winter holiday booked, and something delightful to look forward to.

I am grateful that my state is stunningly beautiful and affords so many and varied destinations that it doesn’t matter too much if getting on a plane is currently out of my reach.

I am grateful for hidden reserves.

I am grateful for positive feedback when I need reinforcement.

Silver Linings and Small Victories.

Late again! Bad self.

Each week, I try to take a moment to be grateful for the good in my life, despite (and sometimes because of) illness and pain. This week:

I am grateful for outings; absence has made the heart grow fonder and now on a night out I try to treaure every moment.

I am grateful for my body’s capacity to surprise me, occasionally, with ninja cat reflexes that I am not expecting, thus making me laugh.

I am grateful for my body’s healing, and my first time wearing a corset since back surgery (not recommended in the first several months, or for frequent use since they can weaken your core muscles, but they look amazing!).

I am grateful for the incredible talent in my sleepy little town; we saw a cabaret of music, burlesque, acrobatics, contortion, magic, and dance last night and it was enchanting, and I never use that word.

I am grateful for my partner’s patience when I am in meltdown mode, and his reassurance that it will turn out okay, and the fact that it always, eventually, does.

I am grateful for access to a range of healthy, delicious food that doesn’t make me sick and miserable.

I am grateful for novels to allow my brain a sigh of relief in the midst of dense academic writing.

I am grateful for long, hot baths in Epsom salts.

What are you grateful for?

Silver Linings and Small Victories.

A little late, but this week:

I am grateful for my body periodically deciding to be a team player, despite me berating it a lot of the time (I can hold a 30-second shoulder stand now! And I just reached my goal weight for the first time since puberty! I went on a horse trail ride!)

I am grateful for a partner with a sense of humour; I spent hours cooking on Valentine’s Day and developed serious gastrointestinal dramas shortly after he arrived home, so spent most of the evening in the bathroom, which was not what we had envisioned!

I am grateful for my capacity to be a good friend.

I am grateful for improved sleep and new prescriptions to try.

I am grateful for the discovery of a dairy-free and grain-free chocolate sponge cake that tastes just like regular cake (read: delicious).

I am grateful for stomach-cramp-causing hysterical laughter.

I am grateful for smart people writing research and blog posts that are insightful, informative, and a pleasure to read, and that restore my faith in humanity after I’ve read bad ones.

I am grateful for funny cat pictures.

I am grateful that every day is a chance to become better in my habits.

Silver Linings and Small Victories.

This week:

I am grateful for my body’s ability to surprise me, by being able and willing to jog on the spot for a couple of minutes one day and (very briefly) hold a shoulder stand the next – both firsts in a very long time.

I am grateful for the body next to me when I’m lying awake in the darkness, which (to paraphrase Tool) reminds me that I am not alone.

I am grateful for the sound of my partner’s heartbeat, my cat’s purring, and the white noise of the pedestal fan, which form a relaxing symphony to keep me company when insomnia is making me feel lonely.

I am grateful for yoga which decreases my anxiety, and my body’s effort to engage in it.

I am grateful for moderate productivity and higher energy this week.

I am grateful to people on the internet, sharing recipes and helping me to nourish my body and build my confidence in the kitchen.

I am grateful for delicious Paleo espresso brownies.

I am grateful to academics who share wisdom and guide the way for the rest of us.

I am grateful again for moments of connection, where someone else on the other side of the world reaches out a hand, and says,β€œYou too? I thought I was the only one”.

Silver Linings and Small Victories.

This week:

I am grateful for reconnecting with old, good friends who understand the challenges of ‘chronic life’.

I am grateful for my body’s unpredictability, since I overdid it badly on Wednesday and was expecting Thursday to be awful, but it wasn’t.

I am grateful for tiny bursts of motivation and the satisfaction of Getting Stuff Done.

I am grateful for the online community of my peers; young women with chronic pain or illness, sharing their experiences and making me feel less alone.

I am grateful for the air conditioning that makes it bearable to lie on a heatpad when it is 40 degrees Celcius.

I am grateful to live in Australia, which, although imperfect, has a vastly better social security and health system than many other parts of the world and is working to improve it through the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

I am grateful to have learned early in life to budget effectively and to live on less, where others would probably struggle.

I am grateful to have the world’s snuggliest cat to keep me company when I’m stuck in bed.

I am grateful to have a father who, despite not really being able to afford it, makes it a priority to pay for my spinal surgeries when I otherwise could not afford them.

Silver Linings and Small Victories.

Being chronically ill or in pain is not, generally speaking, particularly awesome. It isn’t always terrible, but sometimes it is, and people aren’t exactly lining up to be gifted with the eternal joy and enforced co-dependency of being sick for most of their lives.

Also, chronic illness and pain aside, I am not a hugely positive person. I am sarcastic and cynical and live with the mentality that, if I expect the worst, at least I can prepare myself for it, and if it doesn’t go as badly as I’m expecting, I’ll be pleasantly surprised. I have kind of a dark sense of humour. I understand that this type of disposition makes you more prone to depression and a short, nasty, brutish life, but it’s a hard thing to turn around.

I’m probably slightly more complainy and pessimistic on this blog than I am in real life, because I feel like I can vent about the negatives to the faceless internet in a way that I can’t always to the people who love me, care about me, and worry about me. Plus, they get sick of hearing it by virtue of being stuck with me a lot more often than my readers. Having this blog as an outlet for when I am struggling or things aren’t going that well is important, and serves a purpose for me.

However, I don’t want it all to be doom and gloom here. There is research in the positive psychology and resilience realm which indicates that individuals with chronic pain and illness who practice mindful gratitude – taking time to note what is good in their lives and for what they are grateful – have better outcomes.

(Side note: this topic is something I have encountered in my studies, but a quick search turned up these two pieces of related research for anyone interested:

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/pdfs/GratitudePDFs/6Emmons-BlessingsBurdens.pdf

http://hpq.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/03/12/1359105312439733.full.pdf+html)

I don’t want to pretend it is always (or even ever) easy to be grateful for my illness and pain, but there are things in my life which I am grateful for and proud of, which have come about as a direct result of my spinal problems and autoimmune disease. So, I will be making a concerted effort to, once a week, make note of them here. Sometimes there might be lots, sometimes only one, but this is me making myself accountable for my own mental health in the face of adversity.

This week, I am grateful to have a mother who understands what I am going through.

I am grateful to know how deeply my partner cares for me and wants to help me.

I am grateful to be much better than I used to be at prioritising what is truly important and to have finely honed time management skills.

I am grateful to have access to the internet, which facilitates connection and entertainment when I cannot leave my house, or my bed.

I am grateful to have grown in patience and to have a less judgemental attitude than I used to.

I am grateful to have a significantly increased capacity for empathy for those who are distressed or suffering, which will make me a better psychologist, in addition to making me a better person generally.

What are you grateful for?