How can I be grateful when I am so sick?

I remember the last year that I was really sick (highly symptomatic of fibromyalgia and coexisting conditions). I did not want to go to my in-laws’ house for Thanksgiving.  I didn’t want to go anywhere for that matter, and I just stayed home all the time. It wasn’t just that one year; it was several years.Hard to be Thankful with Fibromyalgia  How can I be grateful when I am so sick? turkey 966496 640

Holidays were a particular hell – I had to be present at a certain time, I had to spend a couple hours with people I only saw once or twice a year, I felt like I had to explain why I looked just fine but couldn’t work or do anything meaningful with my life, plus wear nice clothes and eat different food.  Ugh!  Let me go back to bed!

On that last year I was trying to tell my husband I wasn’t going to go to his parents’ house for Thanksgiving.  My husband is a very sweet person, and he had put up with a lot with me being sick.  He gave me this look like “unless you have to go to the hospital, you better go, don’t do this to me.

Here in the US, some families take turns going around the table declaring what they are thankful for that year.  When every fiber of your being is in pain, sleep has been elusive for years, and fatigue is crushing, it takes a lot more imagination to find reasons to be grateful.

How can I be grateful when I am so sick?  Nothing seems good when looked through the lens of an intense illness.  The more you need something, the harder it is to get, right?

You know how it is when you get around somebody that is really complaining, and it might be totally legitimate, but it can really bring the mood down.  Then other people pipe in and start commiserating, and soon everyone is feeling really sour.  This is an example of the principle of Law of Attraction, “like attracts like.”  A negative thought attracts another negative thought like the fibers in a string of yarn until it becomes a rope.

Oppositely, when you focus on better feeling thoughts, you then start to attract more better feeling thoughts.  Thoughts lead to feelings, and who doesn’t want to have good feelings?!

However, the truth of the matter is, you cannot go directly from being down and depressed to grateful and joyful.  Or as Abraham-Hicks point out, “You just can’t get there from here.”  And why would you want to anyway, what does it matter?  What’s so important about gratitude?  Why do we even have a holiday about this?

The fastest and most effective way to flip the switch on any kind of bad mood is to start counting your blessings, i.e., experiencing gratitude. When a person is down in the dumps, it takes some forethought to figure out what to be grateful for, but I have a simple method I learned from Abraham-Hicks: go general.

If you think about the specifics of your situation, you may very well not find anything to be grateful for, it may be just too raw for you to find anything.  So to start (and I mean this is the start – not the end all, be all), start thinking about general things that are pleasant in your situation.  Then those thoughts and feelings will start to attract more and more thoughts about even more and more positive aspects, and a positive spiral will start.  When you get stuck, or a negative thought creeps in, and they will go back to a more general thought.

For example, I might be feeling pretty cruddy and just barely able to make it to the holiday dinner.  How can I lift my mood or even begin to feel like I have gratitude?  I start with something that is easy to be grateful for such as a pet.  I think I am so grateful for my dog, she is such a comfort to me.  Then I wait for a second or two for another positive thought.  I’m glad I get to cuddle with my dog.  As I am waiting for another positive thought, a negative one may creep in: but she needs a bath.  Go back to general: I am so grateful that we have plenty of fresh, clean water.  My dog loves baths, it’s so cute!

As you are thinking about your pet (or something else that is easy to think about), you may very well find your mood improves some.  Then stay in that good mood for as long as you can and just focus on good feeling thoughts.  When the negative thoughts creep in, just blow them off and don’t focus on them.How can I be grateful when I am so sick? Happy Thanksgiving

At this point you may have some ideas about how going to a holiday dinner might be bearable.  Such as, hmm, I can wear something more comfortable, that way I may not tire out so quickly.  Also, I can bring a cushion with me, that way the chair won’t hurt.  I really appreciate how my mother-in-law hosts our family’s get together, she really cares about everyone being comfortable and happy.

You have to build up to the good feelings.  Finding general things to be grateful for attracts more thoughts about what to be grateful for, for your specific situation.

So then what does gratitude do besides make you feel good?  First, isn’t that great all on its own – any way to feel better, especially in the midst of soul-sucking pain, isn’t that enough all on its own?!   In a very metaphysical way, gratitude attracts happiness and blessings the way a tuning fork, once struck, will turn on another tuning fork of the same note, that’s in its vicinity.   Like attracts like.

About a month before that last Thanksgiving where I was so sick, I had started to meditate on “optimal health” which was the most audacious wish I could imagine.  Within about two months I attracted the thought that I wanted to be happy no matter what the situation.  I wasn’t one hundred percent, but my way of being changed so much so, that my husband thought my physical situation was improving.  It hadn’t at that point, but that’s how big a difference changing my outlook made.

Within a year every single aspect of my life changed for the better: I recovered from fibromyalgia and the coexisting conditions I had, I lost over 70 pounds, I was able to get off all prescription drugs, and the miracle of miracles, I became pregnant (at 41 years old!).  I know deep in my soul, that changing my outlook started the ball rolling, and attracted the people and things I needed to make the physical changes.  I attracted happiness and blessings!

So what about you?  What’s an easy subject for you think about?  Do you love the crispness of the air this time of year?  Do you love seeing how much the children have grown when everyone gathers for the holiday?

Also, what strategies have you come up with that help you get through the holidays with health and peace?  Join the Freedom from Fibromyalgia: Fibro Natural Recovery Support group page (you have to request to join – there are all kinds of free resources in the Files section).  I can’t wait to see you then!

Love, Leah

What’s Your Turkey Day Strategy?

Fibromyalgia Thanksgiving Holiday Strategy strategy What’s Your Turkey Day Strategy? Fall Picture e1479915423214Last year I got really real in this post about how much my Thanksgivings have changed.  As we gear up for the holiday this year, and the holiday season in general, my question to my clients has been, “What is your strategy for getting through the holiday?”  We have to take these occasions one day at a time, so let’s focus specifically on Thanksgiving.

Tips to creating a holiday strategy! 

  1. I sincerely hope you have someone to spend this wonderful holiday with.  Some of the loneliest times of my life were when I was a soldier and was away from family during Thanksgiving.  If you are alone this holiday, please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.
  2. If you are a guest, make arrangements ahead of time to make things easier for yourself.  One of my clients included in his strategy driving separately, so he can arrive later and/or leave earlier.  If you have dietary restrictions, make a dish you can bring, share, and enjoy.  The host will likely be grateful.  (My strategy includes taking Butternut Squash Gratin and an Apple Crisp with real Whipped Cream to the celebration this year!)
  3. If you are the one hosting, accept as much help as you can get!  Let people bring side dishes and desserts.  Let everyone pitch in with the dishes, it’s actually kind of fun.  Dinner may not come out perfect, and just accept that going in (and if it does, you will be pleasantly surprised).
  4. In last year’s post I talked about how hard it was to talk to people about my life when I was ill.  For this year, I have a little experiment for you to try.  Instead of the usual turkey day banter of talking about harsh political differences, interrogating teenagers about what they are going to do with their lives, or listing one’s physical disabilities, try adding these wise suggestions to your strategy:  

Don’t Explain, Don’t Complain, and Be Encouraging.

In Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book Excuses Begone!, he describes how complaining attracts more negative circumstances and people to you.  That to me was pretty clear, and I knew no one liked to hear others complain.  But the big idea for me was the genesis of complaints – explaining.  You see, when you start to explain yourself, you inevitably fall into the complaining trap.  

You are a free adult.  You do not need to justify yourself to anyone.  You do not have to share your plans and leave yourself open to criticism.  When people know you are ill, they are full of well-meaning advice.  

On the other hand, when people tell you what’s going on in their lives, be an encourager!  I remember once at a family dinner my niece said she was interested in becoming an interior decorator.  Everyone had a comment about how hard it would be, how she wouldn’t be able to get a job, or she wouldn’t make any money, etc.  Although it was well-meaning advice, I thought it wasn’t quite fair to her.  I said I thought she’d make a great interior designer.  She is a very good listener and very observant, plus she has a flair for putting things together.  With training and diligence, who knows how successful she could have become?!  (She wound up pursing other career goals, but her house is gorgeous.)

This Thanksgiving, build into your holiday strategy,  finding out about what others are doing and see how encouraging you can be.   Your words of encouragement might be just the tipping point to help someone.  By looking into others’ lives, it will help you see perspectives beyond your own.  So, even if you have not recovered yet, you may get some ideas about the kinds of things you would like to do once you do.

Speaking of recovery, how would you like for this holiday season to be DRAMATICALLY different?  

How would you like to have not only strategies for coping, but have me personally “take you by the hand” to help you recover?  If you are at all interested, then fill out an application for the Take Your Health Back Coaching Session.  During this special FREE session, we’ll work together to:

  • Create a crystal-clear vision for the ideal life you’d be living with vibrant and vivacious health.
  • We’ll uncover hidden challenges that may be sabotaging your efforts and keeping you sick.

Thanksgiving Day Before and After Fibromyalgia

Before and After Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Day Before and After Fibromyalgia Before and AfterWhat are you doing today?

How I’m Celebrating Thanksgiving This Year

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I just love the idea of setting aside a day to celebrate gratitude with family and friends.  However, in the past before I recovered from fibromyalgia, it was an ordeal.

Thanksgiving before Fibromyalgia Recovery

My husband and I would go to a family member’s house, and I could just see the looks of pity and disbelief about what a waste of human I had become.  To be clear, no one actually treated me like that, that was my own loathing self-talk at work.  Near the end of my illness, I was so bad off that I had to make arrangements with my mother-in-law ahead of time to lay down after dinner.  The house was so chock-full of overnight guests she let me use her bed.  My sweet mother-in-law was very accommodating.

Sometimes in my normal day-to-day life, my life didn’t seem so horrendous.  But then the reality of my situation became exposed to the awful light of day when someone asked some form of the simple question, “What do you do all day?”  My illusions shattered by the light of that question, especially if it was posed by someone whose opinion mattered to me.

Trying to answer that question with any semblance of dignity was impossible.  I was embarrassed and ashamed that I was sick.  I tried to hide it as best I could, but for the people who knew me well, the life I was leading was just not me.  I felt like I was in a black hole and that I was just enduring life.  Being asked about my days on the occasional holidays highlighted the fact that my life sucked.

So between Halloween candy, overindulgence during the holidays, lack of sunlight and of course an already raging case of major depression and anxiety, by the time February came along I was usually in a black pit of despair.  I never wanted to actually commit suicide, but I certainly didn’t want to keep on living that way, I just didn’t want to be alive anymore if this was my reality.

This went on for about six years and then one year was different.  In December of 2007 I met holistic therapist Victoria Smith.  In January I started what later became The Healing Cleanse™ (as detailed in Freedom from Fibromyalgia: 7 Steps to Complete Recovery) and within three weeks I felt so much better, I thought I was cured.  I was far from cured, I had a long way to go, but I continued on The Healing Cleanse™, and other healing therapies, for nearly a year and every one of the symptoms of fibromyalgia and the coexisting conditions disappeared.  (I teach about this in-depth in my book Freedom from Fibromyalgia: 7 Steps to Complete Recovery.)

Thanksgiving Now

Fast forward seven years from then, and my life is completely different.  I am living the life of my dreams!  I have everything I have ever wanted and more on its way.  I have a child (I was infertile before), I have an exciting and fulfilling career that aligns with my life mission, I have lots of friends and go to parties, I travel, and I exercise because my body WANTS to move.

I am not saying all this to brag or make anyone feel bad.  I am looking to inspire and motivate, to show what is possible.  The way I am celebrating Thanksgiving this year is by participating in a 5 mile run.  (You can read about my Half-Marathon Miracle here.) Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Day Before and After Fibromyalgia 675d6ca5 c5dd 4a59 a96c aefeffaea586 Now I run because I love how it feels and how I feel afterwards.
My body loves to move.  This is a real thing – a healthy body WANTS to move.  (When I was sick, every fiber of my being screamed at me to be still.)
So instead of feeling dark despair by the time February comes along, I am hosting the first-ever of its kind world-wide Fibromyalgia Telesummit Janurary 26-28th, and then the teleseries course 3D Fibromyalgia Healing in February.  And then later on into March, I will be a keynote speaker at a medical conference to instruct medical doctors about how to go about helping their patients heal from fibromyalgia.
Wow!  What a difference!

That, my friends, is a lot to be thankful for!

So how are you spending Thanksgiving this year?  What are your hopes for next year?  I look forward to reading your answers in the comments!

Happy Heartfelt Thanksgiving!!
Yours in joy and health,
Leah
The Fibro Lady

Fibromyalgia Support at your Finger Tips and an Announcement for 2016

There are Fibromyalgia Support Options! fibromyalgia support Fibromyalgia Support at your Finger Tips and an Announcement for 2016 inflammation 30

Why provide fibromyalgia support? I am on a personal mission to help people recover from fibromyalgia and its coexisting conditions.  To reach this goal, my team and I offer multiple resources to support you on your healing journey, most of which are FREE.  You don’t have to go on this journey alone, we are here to help you!

Virtual Fibromyalgia Support

  • On the The Fibro Lady YouTube Channel

    • Fantastic how-tos and tips for natural recovery
    • Leave comments on the videos
    • Subscribe and be notified when we release new videos
  • The Unconventional Traditional NewsletterLose 15 pounds - Free Fibromyalgia Support  fibromyalgia support Fibromyalgia Support at your Finger Tips and an Announcement for 2016 Lose 15 pounds cover

    • Conveniently delivered right to your inbox
    • Cutting-Edge Natural Health and Living Information
    • Subscribe today on the form on this page
    • When you subscribe you will automatically receive the free ebook “Lose Up to 15 Pounds in 30 Days Without Starving, Exercising or Stressing

Interactive Fibromyalgia Support

  • The Fibro Lady Facebook Page

        • To insure you get to see all the posts, on the “Like” button click on the arrow and chose to receive all notifications
  • The Fibro Hope Support “Closed” Facebook Group

        • This is an online support group that I personally monitor daily
        • To join the group, search for “fibro hope support” on Facebook  or go to www.facebook.com/groups/fibrohopesupport and request to join the the group.

In-Person Fibromyalgia Support

  • One-on-one Private Coaching
  • Monthly Packages
  • Unlimited email coaching
  • Local Support Groups – The Fibro Fighters

    • We are currently developing curriculum for local support groups nationally
    • Right now we have two groups on Meetup.com

Big Announcements!  Coming Soon:

    • January 26-28, 2016
    • 12 Experts in Natural Healing sharing actionable information
    • The first-ever event of its kind!
    • Bonuses and surprises!
  • 3D Fibromyalgia Healing Teleseminar
    • Starts February, 2016 after the World Telesummit
    • Put the information you learn in the Telesummit into action!
    • It spans over 6 weeks of information, bonuses and interaction where everyone gets to hear everyone else’s questions.  
  • Resource List of MORE Practitioners

    • We will be enlisting more help with recovery from healing professionals all over through The Freedom from Fibromyalgia Certification Course for Healing Professional.
    • Once complete, these professionals will be listed by specialty and geographic area

We have been very busy and we have exciting plans going on now and in the near future to provide even more fibromyalgia support options.  Stay tuned!

Yours in joy and health,

Leah

 

 

Why You Need a Therapeutic Probiotic

Why You Need a Therapeutic-Grade Probiotic

organic probiotic probiotic Why You Need a Therapeutic Probiotic organic probiotic
All the steps in Freedom from Fibromyalgia: 7 Steps to Complete Recover are important for complete recovery of fibromyalgia and the coexisting conditions, but I get asked often if there was only one thing I could do, what would it be?  My answer is always Step 3: Quickly Begin to Heal Your Gut.  If you heal your gut, then that will eventually make the way for all of the other healing.  (That being said, if you do all seven steps in order it is the fastest, most efficient way to heal from fibromyalgia, of which I am aware.)

If you have the symptoms of fibromyalgia, rest assured you have a damaged digestive system (gut).  You more than likely have other issues as well, such as toxicity, but the digestive system is at the crux of most of the issues with fibromyalgia.

Healing your gut is actually a long and slow process which can take years.  The only way I know of to jump-start the healing process is to use a therapeutic-grade probiotic at high levels for an extended period of time (thirty to ninety days or more)  This, combined with a simple no-fake-food diet, and a detoxification element such as zeolites, is what we call The Healing Cleanse.  (You can find in-depth information about this process in Freedom from Fibromyalgia: 7 Steps to Complete Recovery.)

Probiotics fortunately are receiving mainstream attention and now you can buy them everywhere.  I remember trying the yogurt and the various “pearls” all to no avail.  So what’s the difference between foods such as yogurt and raw sauerkraut, supplements you can buy in stores, and the supplement that saved my life?   Foods are great for maintaining gut health, while probiotics at the store are just not very strong because they do not contain multiple strains of beneficial microbes that colonize like therapeutic-grade probiotics do.

 

Features to Look for in a Therapeutic-Grade Probiotic:

  • Several strains of beneficial microbes such as:
  • Lactobacilli
  • Bifidobacteria
  • Beneficial yeast strains such as Saccharomyces boulardii
  • (antagonist to the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans)
  • Colonizing
  • Organic
  • Free of gluten
  • No GMOs, artificial coloring, flavorings, or preservatives Every batch tested

Therapeutic Grade Probiotic probiotic Why You Need a Therapeutic Probiotic prescript assist probioticThe brand of therapeutic grade probiotic I use is SH FermPlus Pro.  (I use a maintenance amount daily and a few times a year I do a “detox” for a period of time.)  This is the probiotic I consider to have saved my life, and I know a lot of others that feel the same way about it.

If for some reason you cannot use SH FermPlus Pro, perhaps maybe there is an ingredient in it you are allergic to, then my second choice is Prescript Assist.  It is available in chewable tablets or capsules.  (SH FermPlus Pro is only available in a powder that needs to be mixed in water.)  I give the Prescript Assist chewable tablets to my child who is too small to take capsules, and I use the capsules while traveling.

The main point is to address healing of the gut.  If you would like more information on this subject, get my free eBook, Lose Up to 15 Pounds in 30 Days Without Exercising, Starving or Stressing (by signing up for my newsletter) and see the section on “The Healing Cleanse.”  Feel free to contact me, Leah McCullough, at www.TheFibroLady.com or at The Fibro Lady on FaceBook and Twitter. This video also explains the difference. Once you begin this process, there are ways to maintain a healthy gut. You may have to seriously consider what you eat and drink. When you are ready, please visit the site, check out the recipes and sign up for my newsletter, which will give you great ideas for continuing to heal and take your life back!

Pets for Fibromyalgia

Why Do Many Chronicly Ill Patients have Pets?

Pets & Fibromyalgia pets Pets for Fibromyalgia Annie and LeahI get to talk to people every day that have a chronic illness of some kind.  When talking about comfort measures, an often overlooked one is pets.  When I was severely ill with fibromyalgia and its coexisting conditions I had several pets that meant the world to me.  They were part of my family and my link to the world.

I lived in a two-story house and I had to go down both flights of steps to let the dogs out into the yard.  Some days it was all I could do to get up and down those steps to let them out.  I was actually wishing for a one level house, which, ironically now that I’m well, I now live in.  But going up and down those steps, and letting them outside and interacting with them, was part of the bridge that kept me in this world.

It can be very difficult for “normal” people to understand how isolating it is to have a chronic illness.  In my case, I lost my job, I lost most of my friends; my family relationships were strained, and at the worst points, the only “social” interactions I had were with health care providers.  I wasn’t shopping, going to restaurants or going to movies.  I felt like an elderly shut-in person, which is awful for anyone but, for an outgoing and friendly person such as myself, that is even more terrible.

There were times when I was so depressed and in so much pain that the only things that kept me in this world were my husband, my parents and my pets.  My sweet little pets were my non-judgmental friends that were a great comfort to me.  Petting and interacting with them was a tangible way to get some much needed social and emotional stimulation.  I was very fortunate that my husband was able to take care of the litter boxes and take the dogs for a walk.  The only thing I could do with them was let them out into our fenced back yard, as I mentioned above.

When I started to recover, my fur babies were right there with me.  In the mornings I would get up to spend some time with my husband before he left for work.  Normally, after he left, I would go back to bed, and sometimes that would be the best sleep I could get.  As I started to recover, I started sleeping normally and I didn’t have to lay down in the morning.  After my husband left in the morning, the gang would start trotting down the hall to the bedroom, but when I didn’t follow they got confused.  This was one of the signs for me that things had really changed.

Be Fibro Free pets Pets for Fibromyalgia Issy and Leah 2One of the more “impossible” things I thought could never happen was horseback riding:  I was too heavy, my boots wouldn’t fit because my feet had grown, and my knees were shot.  Much to my surprise, after I lost 70 pounds, my feet and calves shrunk so much that my from college fit again and my knees didn’t hurt anymore.  I began taking riding lessons again and after an over 20 year hiatus I was shocked how my body remembered to ride.  It was wonderful!

I have been so well for over seven years now so all those precious pets have now gotten old and passed away.  We wanted to wait awhile before we got any more pets, but the house didn’t feel like a home without a dog and a cat.  After our last cat died we only waited three months before we got our new cat Mitzi, and after our last dog died we only waited five months before we got our new dog, Annie.

What types of comfort measures have you taken that have worked to alleviate the social and emotional isolation that having a chronic illness makes?  Also I would love to see a picture of your fur babies, preferably with you!