Champagne Bottle

All bottled up

Ready to explode

When the time comes

To release the latch

Will I be empty then?

Will nothing matter anymore?

Or will I finally be free?

Dogs and Depression

Depression, a ten letter word that feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Where you feel alone even in a world full of billions of people. You have to have depression to fully understand how it feels. Depression isn’t always about just sadness sometimes there are other feelings. Sometimes you just feel empty or sometimes too full of emotions. There are a million different ways depression can make you feel. I’m so thankful for antidepressants and also thankful for the antidepressant which comes in the form of dogs.

I honestly don’t know where I would be without my dogs. Almost my entire life (from 2 on) I have had at least one dog. I remember when I was young how my dog Penny would come to me when I was crying and lick my tears away (maybe because of the saltiness of tears but maybe also because she knew I needed it). At this point I have three dogs Chelsea, Winnie, and Mitzi. We actually got Winnie because I thought it would be helpful for my mental health (and I was right!). Taking care of another being and being responsible for them is a wonderful and scary feeling. Knowing that in order to take care of them I had to take care of myself was a motivator.

During some of my darkest moments my dogs helped me get out of them. Whether it was by a lick or a look I knew they loved me even if I didn’t love myself at the time.

Does anyone have any pets that have helped them with their mental health?

Gift List for Chronic Pain Sufferers

Chronic pain. There are so many variations of it. There’s headaches, arthritis, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, etc. I know that some of my favourite gifts as a chronic pain sufferer have to do with something to either aide or distract me from my chronic pain.

Here are just a few gift ideas for those you know who are in chronic pain:

  • Blankets. Comfy, cozy, and perfect to cuddle up in during a flare of symptoms
  • Reading socks (my favourite are from https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/home/search/?keywords=Reading%20socks#suggest=1&internal=1). Keeping your feet toasty and comfy
  • Essential oils. I love using essential oils to help calm me down and relax me, whether I wear them or put them in a diffuser (another great gift idea by the way)
  • Books books books (did I mention books?)! There are days when we aren’t able to do much more than lie down. This can get very boring very quickly. A book (or books, the more the merrier) is a way of escaping and is also entertaining
  • A Netflix, Hulu, DisneyPlus, Youtube, etc. subscription (or DVDs). Once again it can get very annoying and boring to not be able to do anything
  • Any kind of cool and cute heating pad, hot water bottle, or ice pack ( my mom once got me and ice pack with a little princess on it and I love it!)

There are so many great gift ideas that will help someone that has chronic pain, I just picked a few. Do you have any other ideas, let me know in the comments!

https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/home/search/?keywords=Reading%20socks#suggest=1&internal=1

Christmas Time's a Comin'

It’s three days until Christmas! Every year I tend to get excited for Christmas November 1 however, this year was different. This year I wasn’t experiencing the “Christmas cheer” I usually do until December! December! A whole month later. Why is this? Why was I so much more depressed when it came to the holidays this year?

I think I should first mention that the hardest time of year for me has been December and January since I was about 14 (I’m almost 23 now). This is due to some unpleasant events happening during this time. The only good thing about having the extra depression around this time of year is that my Christmas cheer tends to literally cheer me up to a point. This year I have tended to not have this Christmas cheer to the same extent.

I’ve tried to get more in the Christmas spirit and I think it’s working.

Here are some of my tips to get into the Christmas spirit:

  • Put on some cozy PJs (if they are Christmas PJs even better!)
  • Get out your favourite Christmas movies! Mine is all of the Santa Clause’s with Tim Allen
  • Read a good Christmas book! I really like Debbie Macomber’s Christmas stories!
  • Have some hot chocolate. Hot chocolate is always a must!
  • Light your favourite Christmas candle. Mine is the Hot Cocoa & Cream candle from Bath and Body Works (https://www.bathandbodyworks.com/p/hot-cocoa-andamp-cream-3-wick-candle-024600765.html#q=hot%2Bcocoa%2Band%2Bcream&lang=en_US&start=1)
  • Do you like to bake? Maybe bake some Christmas cookies or even just regular cookies or anything really
  • Buying and/or making presents always puts me in a good mood
  • Wrapping presents with Christmas music or a Christmas movie on
  • Christmas music! (My favourite Christmas artist is Bing Crosby, I also love listening to Raffi’s Christmas music)
  • Decorate!

Hopefully something on this list will help you (it helps me)! What’s your favourite Christmas tradition? Let me know in the comments!

Introducing the Dogs of the Household

In the O’Connell residence live three amazing dogs; Chelsea, Winnie, and Mitzi. Each with their own personality and behaviour.

Winnie, Mitzi, and Chelsea

Chelsea is a 9 year old, 7 pound Yorkshire terrier. She’s a real diva, a princess if you will. When we want to let the dogs out to do their business sometimes she’ll wait at the tip of the stairs for us to carry her down! Sometimes she’ll walk down a few steps then stop and lie down, letting us know she refuses to move any farther. She is such a sweet little thing. She loves tummy rubs and attention.

Winnie is a 3 (almost 4!) year old, 12 pound miniature poodle. Her colouring is mainly black but with some white in there (she has a little white goatee, her chest is white and she has some white on her paws). She is by far the most energetic dog I’ve ever met. Her energy rivals a puppy’s energy! She is very clever and knows how to get what she wants. Her biggest love is playing fetch.

Mitzi is a 3 year old, 14 pound miniature poodle, she’s actually Winnie’s half sister. She is mainly black but has some grey and white on her. Mitzi reminds me a lot of the dwarf Dopey from Snow White, she is the cuddliest and dopiest dog I’ve ever met. Mitzi sometimes almost cuddles like a human would. Her biggest love is definitely cuddles.

So there’s a brief introduction on my three amazing dogs. They are truly the light of my life and they’ve helped me through both my mental and physical struggles.

Do you have any pets? Let me know in the comments below!

The Aftermath

Two and a half hours to my grannie’s and two and a half hours back… a total of five hours in the car for the day. This wreaks havoc on my body. Starting on the car ride back I ended up getting a really bad headache (I have chronic headaches). I thought that it might be because I didn’t eat for a long time. I decided to eat something and wait on taking Advil. However, unfortunately the headache did not go away and I needed the Advil.

On our ride back my lower back was in a little more pain than usual, but this was to be expected from the car ride. At the end of the car ride I decided to take my muscle relaxers as I knew it would probably be very aggravated. I was right! As soon as we got home I let the dogs out (also brought them back in don’t worry!) and went straight into my bed. As soon as I made it to my bed I felt the pain in my lower back. Now, with my fibromyalgia the pain is always there (and everywhere else) however, this was more, this was an intense pain. I’m lucky that I managed to fall asleep quickly!

I woke up this morning and the pain is worse than usual but all in all I’m glad that I went to visit my grannie and even got to see my aunt and uncle! The pain has held me back for so long and I’m trying to not let it anymore.

Do you have any similar stories?

Drives with Fibromyalgia

One of the most painful things that I can do is sit in a car for over an hour, my fibromyalgia cannot stand it. I try to avoid any car rides that take longer than an hour due to the pain I will be in during and afterwards. Why is it so painful to sit in a car for a semi long period of time? For me I think it’s because I need to move and change my positions often to even out the pain however, in a car you can’t really accomplish that.

Today I’m supposed to visit my Grannie who I haven’t seen in a year due to the 2 and a half hour car ride. I’m already severely stressed and in more pain due to the realizations that I will most likely be in a lot of pain in a short while. If it wasn’t the for the fact that I miss my grannie a lot there would be no way I would even consider going anywhere at this time.

So how can I make the car ride better you may ask. Well the first major plus is that my car has heated seats. If you have chronic pain you probably know how much this would benefit us. I’m also considering bringing an ice pack to switch between ice and heat like most health care professionals (HCPs) suggest doing. I’ll be bringing Salonpas patches that numb some of my pain and also my prescription for muscle relaxers. This may seem like overkill to a lot of healthy people but to me it is the only way of making myself as comfortable as possible.

To make the car ride a little more pleasant I will be bringing two books (YOU by Caroline Kepnes & Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie) my phone, and my wireless headphones (don’t worry I’m not driving.

Does anyone have any other suggestions for making this a less painful drive? What do you like to do if you’re the passenger?