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Are you mentally strong?

23 Jan

This post really made me think.

Before I was forced to embark on my journey thru ME/CFS, when I was / thought I was “well” I can’t claim to have had many, if any, of these attributes to my name. I wasn’t mentally strong. I didn’t know that then, it’s only with the beauty of hindsight that I see it now.

And now many more of these attributes ring true for me. ME/CFS has led me on a journey towards mental strength.

It makes me think, when we are mentally less strong, are we physically weaker too? I would hazard a guess as yes. And so if mental weakness contributes to physical weakness then surely that means it leads to / can contribute to illness, especially chronic illness such as ME/CFS.

The mind, meaning the brain and neurology, and the body are intrinsically linked, yet western medicine is only beginning to get to grips with such thinking.

This is all just my bed time hypothesising, over to you, what do you think? The less mentally strong you are the more susceptible to illness you become? Seems logical to me.

Poppyposts

I found this on Pinterest today and when I read through them it made me think. I don’t practise some of these things that β€œmentally strong” people do. Maybe I should start. Have a read and let me know how you get on…..

Mentally strong

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It’s Starting To Feel A Lot Like Christmas!

22 Dec
Photo by Jess B. Our Christmas Tree

Photo by Jess B. Our Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I hope you are all in the swing of the festive spirit and enjoying this special time of year. I most definitely am. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas!

For the first time Mr B and I are hosting Christmas in our flat. My sister is home from the US and has been with us for a few days already and today my parents arrive, well hopefully they arrive. As I type, if all had gone according to plan, they would have been steaming down the A1 motorway right about now en route to us. However, nothing ever goes completely smoothly, and this morning whilst my Dad was showering and my Mum stood innocently wiping the kitchen surfaces down, water started dripping through the kitchen ceiling. Not ideal.

Photo by Jess B. Christmas baubles.

Photo by Jess B. Christmas baubles.

But hey, what’s Christmas without a little plumbing drama?! And nothing is going to dampen my festive spirit, given I have more energy this year than for a very long time.

We will celebrate with Mr B’s family when they visit us next Sunday – you can never have too many Christmases!

Photo by Jess B. Our tree.

Photo by Jess B. Our tree.

Mr B and I live in a loft style apartment and so are blessed with double height (14 foot) ceilings and so we have space for a huge Christmas tree. I wanted a 12 foot tree. Mr B wanted a tiny fiber optic one. We compromised on a 7 foot (real) nordic fir which even if I do say so myself, looks magnificent dressed in some of my Mum’s ornaments from my childhood as well as new ones that Mr B and I have purchased over the last few months. The presents are piling up around the tree, the carols and Christmas songs playing, mince pies, christmas pud and copious amounts of cakes under way. Fairy lights are twinkling all over our flat, tinsel sparkles, now we just need a sprinkling of snow (unlikely) and Santa to arrive!

Me decorating the tree! Photo by Jess B.

Me decorating the tree! Photo by Jess B.

I actually decorated the tree this year – the first time in 3 years that decorating the tree has involved more than me just putting up two decorations and then collapsing back onto the sofa. I can not tell you how wonderful it felt to be stood a top the steps popping baubles onto the uppermost branches of our tree.

I’m still trying to take it easy. As my Lightning Process practitioner reminded me in my session with her last week, my priority still must be my recovery. Christmas or no Christmas, all I want is to be well and so I am using the Lightning Process to keep me calm and to keep the overwhelm of the festive season in check.

As we’re in full on Christmas cooking kitchen mode, it’s time for me to get to making (yes actually making not sitting watching ‘supervising’ making which has been my role over the last few years when I was doing ME/CFS) my gluten, dairy, yeast, grape, egg, coconut, turkey free Christmas foods! Whilst I do that, here are some pics of Christmas chez nous – enjoy πŸ™‚

Christmas bell ornaments from my Mum's childhood. Photo by Jess B.

Christmas bell ornaments from my Mum’s childhood. Photo by Jess B.

Christmas baubles bring back lovely memories. Photo by Jess B.

Christmas baubles bring back lovely memories. Photo by Jess B.

Presents!!!! Photo by Jess B.

Presents!!!! Photo by Jess B.

Photo by Jess B.

Photo by Jess B.

Sitting santa and Mr Snowman, knitted by my Mum. Photo by Jess B.

Sitting Santa and Mr Snowman, knitted by my Mum. So cute! Photo by Jess B.

Photo by Jess B.

Photo by Jess B.

And our Christmas Penguin! Photo by Jess B.

And our Christmas Penguin, a gift a few years ago from my sister! Photo by Jess B.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and happy, healthy and wonderful New Year.

Jess xxxx

A Life I Love in Lovely Lille

12 Dec
Christmas Lights outside our hotel. Photo by Jess B

Christmas Lights outside our hotel. Photo by Jess B

We’re back from our winter weekend away in lovely Lille in Northern France. We had such a nice weekend. Eurostar London to Lille is a breeze, our hotel was amazing and wandering around the Christmas market and the little cobbled streets of the old city was just wonderful. Yes wandering about – no being pushed in a wheelchair around here, yippeeee! We did lots of Christmas shopping, lots of eating, rode the Ferris wheel and made time for lots of relaxing in our gorgeous hotel room too. Overall a perfect weekend.

I even spoke French, I’m a little rusty to say the least – it is ten years since I lived in France during my Gap Year and ten years since I used French regularly. But I did manage to explain to the pompous French waiter that I couldn’t eat ‘farine de blΓ©’ (wheat flour) when his English failed him – even though I spoke in French he insisted on responding in pigeon English – just let me speak French for goodness sake! Jess 1 pompous waiter 0. Tho when I then asked for the steak to not be cooked in butter and for it to be well done I got a horrified look from said waiter and the comment ‘it is not recommended’. Well that may be Mr French waiter man and I would love to eat a butter laden steak but my arteries wouldn’t thank me and more to the point, nor would my pesky digestive system. I compromised on the cooking of the meat to be ‘en pointe’ (medium: the max meat cooking level in France it would seem) in exchange for avoiding ‘le beurre’. French culinary hurdles navigated we enjoyed a very nice meal and my steak was perfectly cooked; it really was medium by both French and English redness levels. Parfait!

My first time on a ferris wheel! Photo by Jess B.

My first time on a ferris wheel! Photo by Jess B.

I did good energy and stamina all weekend. I am particularly proud of how much walking I managed. I did some myalgia towards the end of each day but in light of how much walking, shopping and sight seeing we did, I am very happy. I was careful not to do ‘busy busy busy’ manic Jess wanting to do everything all at once. On Friday after travelling and arriving in Lille we had a relaxing afternoon in our hotel room, me doing a Yoga Nidra relaxation and having a little nap and then a quiet evening of a hotel room picnic of lots of lovely French charcuterie meats (for us both) and cheeses (for Mr B) and a drink in the hotel bar. Both Saturday and Sunday afternoons, after a morning of market visiting, present shopping and people watching from the terraces of cafes in picturesque French squares, we relaxed back at the hotel making the most of the spa facilities and me making time for a relaxation track.

View of the Christmas Market up high on the Ferris Wheel. Photo by Jess B.

View of the Christmas Market from up high on the Ferris Wheel. Photo by Jess B.

I am especially happy in light of the fact I was fighting off a cold virus all weekend. I had a sore throat off and on all weekend and was a bit sniffly. That’s nothing new for an ME/CFS pro like myself, but there is a difference between the constant ache of an ME/CFS sore throat and the acute sharp pain of a viral sore throat and this was definitely the latter. So not only did I go away for lovely long weekend and do everything that a ‘normal’ well person would do, I did it all whilst being a bit under the weather. The virus seems to have passed now. Thank Goodness. Monday and Tuesday I felt pretty rough. But again I could differentiate the achy muscles, hot/cold temperature swings and tiredness from ME/CFS exhaustion. The tiredness was more in my head and behind my eyes, you know the kind when you’re full of cold. But now I’m feeling much better, pretty much back to ‘normal’ – and not ME/CFS normal but the new doing wellness Jess normal.

Mr B queued outside the shop to buy one of these chocolate meringue balls of deliciousness! Full of cream not Jess friendly but Mr B wolfed it down! Photo by Jess B.

Mr B queued outside the shop to buy one of these chocolate meringue balls of deliciousness! Full of cream not Jess friendly but Mr B wolfed it down! Photo by Jess B.

And today I’m doing far better than my other half. Mr B is monumentally hungover today. It was his firm’s Christmas party last night and boy did he look rough this morning! He thinks he got home at 4 am, ish, but was none too sure, nor how he got home – Β which evokes a cosy warm safe feeling inside me…not! As I type this he is no doubt slumped in a steaming drunken / hungover state on his desk at work. And no doubt he is not the only one in that state with the Christmas party season in full swing! One advantage of being in recovery and rehabilitation from a chronic illness and intolerant to alcohol – no hangovers! Well no alcohol induced hangovers at any rate. If I’m not painstakingly careful with what food passes my lips then I do a pretty mean ‘food hangover’ the next day – hence the aforementioned French waiter showdown.

Merry Christmas Mr Snowman! Photo by Jess B.

Merry Christmas Mr Snowman! Photo by Jess B.

I was pretty sad to leave Lille when it became time on Monday to board our return Eurostar back to London. But no post holiday blues lingered for long as Christmas is nearly upon us and I LOVE CHRISTMAS! My sister will be home from the US in 6 days, that’s just 5 more sleeps!! I haven’t seen her since August and literally can not wait to see her and envelope her in a giant energy filled hug! And this year I especially LOVE CHRISTMAS cos I have the energy and wellness to fully take part and enjoy it for the first time in 3 years. It is going to be extra special simply for that reason. It is true what they say – that health should never be taken for granted, I didn’t realize its importance until I had lost it. Now I am on the road to full health and wellness I’m going to be sure to remember the value of good health and energy each and everyday. I am eternally grateful that I am doing better.

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