by Freyja

Well I’m not really sure how to kick this off. I’m Freyja and I’m really excited to start writing for this wonderful little community. I’m 24 years old and from Manchester, UK. I’m a cat owner, massage student and for the last 6 years I have had the linked conditions fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.  I struggle with daily pain and fatigue and have battled all kinds of issues caused by my chronic health problems, from depression and anxiety to loneliness and disability shaming.

But that’s not why we’re here, today we discuss the positives and there is no greater positive than life lessons.

If you had told me even 2 years ago that I would be a daily meditation and yoga kinda’ girl, I would have laughed in your face. Now I’ve not grown my dreadlocks in just yet, but I have definitely faced some truths about what it means to be ‘well’ and although all of these things are vital for someone with chronic pain to get their head round, I feel like we could all do with understanding some of these basic tips that have held my life in balance for the last 2 years.

Your mental health is key.  So many of us abandon our mental health and well-being. Treating our feelings like an inconvenience that can be dealt with a later date. In my case, poor mental health is the most likely cause of my condition. I was dealing with a lot of emotional pressure in my personal life and let it build until I caved. And I’m not alone. Depression has been linked to weakening the immune system and an increased risk of coronary heart disease. I had to learn that taking care of my body, means taking care of my mind.  

Sometimes all you need is some perspective. There’s two sides to this one I guess. Firstly

When I was going through (And go through) my worst of the worst days. The kind that make you truly question why you. I would go online and read stories about fibro. Good stories, bad stories. The recovered and the bed bound.  I NEEDED to know there was people out there with my exact condition who had it better and had it worse. I would remind myself that I may be in pain, but there are children with terminal conditions. Now not everyone needs to go to that extreme to get that bit of perspective but it’s the idea of knowing that you can always be worse off and always have something to strive for.

 Secondly the perspective of what truly matters to you. It is so easy to get caught up in the daily stresses and dramas we all feel make up the fabric of our lives when really it’s the people and passions we hold dear that make us so truly happy.

Learning to say no, even when it’s to yourself. I, like many, have spent years being a bit of a people pleaser. I would agree to things I didn’t really want to agree too, either for health reasons or simply I didn’t want to. I then would come to doing it and I would either make myself sick by going when I’m not fit to or have an anxiety attack about cancelling. I had to learn that I only have so many hours in the day to give to myself and my loved ones. That my time and energy is precious.

I also have a habit of getting excited and overbooking myself. Doing the things I love so much I make myself drained. Sometimes your own drive for fun or success can be what’s stopping you taking a well needed break.

You are what you eat. It’s a phase you will hear over and over again. One that honestly has become somewhat of a joke. But a phase that is true never the less. I spent years doing physiotherapy and medication with things only getting worse, but once I started paying attention to my pain and fatigue and how they related to the food on my plate, I saw a huge reduction in some of my symptoms . Diet is one of the leading links to depression, anxiety, acne, weight related health problems and so much more.

Changing my diet has been one of the toughest changes in my health journey. I’m such a fussy eater. I don’t eat fish, I don’t like many veggies and there was many foods I had never tried just out of stubbornness. It has been and still is, a re-training process. I never thought I would have found myself coming home drunk from a night out and craving a oats bar and some walnuts.  

Your health journey is not a race. Your health journey is just that, a journey. Ever started a really restrictive diet, binged on crisps and chocolate at 7pm on day 8 then thrown the whole idea out? Or wrote a list of all the new habits your going to try starting Monday, to never pick it up again. So many of us a rushing to have the perfect body, eating goals or just achieve in general,

It’s crazy how we all keep buying into this motion of fad diets  and short term bursts of work will provide long term positive changes in our lives.

Let’s not be so hard on ourselves. It’s okay to fall short for a day, then pick it all back up tomorrow. It’s okay to take your time. Little habit changes, one by one build up and are enough to make one hell of a big change.

Feel free to reach out :