Sunday, 24 April 2016

Discovering talents



don't know who to credit this image to, a cousin of mine posted it last week on Facebook and it was just what I needed to read at the time I needed to read it. 

Each day passes and I don't feel I've achieved very much. I have a strong desire to succeed but it's prevented by a body and mind riddled by illness. This proverb reminded me that I can still achieve, little by little. 

Living with a chronic illness means having to think outside the box to accomplish what we want in life. I'm always inspired by Jessica Taylor, who runs a charity from her bed, 'Share A Star'to send a message of hope and to help children who are seriously unwell. I meet people daily online who, despite living with chronic illness, make such beautiful creations and works of art; bloggers and writers whose words motivate, inspire, spread the word and transport us away from our sick beds. 

Before I developed ME I enjoyed walking, exercising, and dancing.  When I could no longer do these I struggled. I don't have any particular gifts or talents and I had to try a few things, when I could, to see what I could do with the limited 'spoons' I had. 


I spent a lot of time pondering and reflecting. The main questions I asked myself were: 

What excites me? 

What do I enjoy reading/watching? 

What gives me energy? 

What do I think I'm good at?

What would others say I am good at? 
(Don't be afraid to ask them!) 

What are my core values? 

What is important to me? 


Whilst in this process someone suggested writing a blog. I discovered a passion I didn't know I had and I became a blogger. I love writing, but I wouldn't say I was a proficient writer. Blogging gave me a platform to express myself informally. It also opened up a world online of like-minded people. It felt like the perfect fit for me and I still absolutely love it. It's not been an easy route, but then the best routes never are!

What's been your experience? Have you discovered new talents or ambitions? Were you able to continue and strengthen the talents you already had? I'd love to hear, leave a comment below :) 










Sunday, 17 April 2016

Helping others to help ourselves.





One day last week I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. I was driving home from the school run contemplating yet another day lay on the couch until it was time to go and pick my boys up again. 

I had sat in the car watching all the other school parents chatting away, feeling lonely and sad that I kept having to cancel or postpone their offers of meeting up. I knew those offers wouldn't always come and that each time I said no I was closing the door to my chance of a social life. Some doors had already closed. 

I was having a good old pity party (which I think we just have to allow ourselves to do sometimes before we can move on). Then a thought occurred to me. I was being selfish, thinking of all the things I couldn't do and feeling robbed. 

President Thomas S Monson said "unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and … lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish--and in effect save their lives.”

I was waiting for people to contact me, to offer me their friendship. But in this day of technology and social media I can offer my friendship. I can send a message to ask how someone is doing, ask them how things are in their life etc. I can show interest and my support in the things they post. Instead of thinking about what they can do for me, I can think about what I can do for them within my capabilities. 



Service doesn't have to be physical.
"We live in a contentious world. We give service when we don’t criticize, when we refuse to gossip, when we don’t judge, when we smile, when we say thank you, and when we are patient and kind." Cheryl A Esplin

Before I became ill I was always serving some one in one way or another. In my job, in my church, in my family. Developing ME changed all that. 

Living with a chronic illness made me selfish. Actually, selfish is the wrong word, it is self-preservation. Nobody else knew what I needed and when so I had to think inwardly to take care of myself so as not to precipitate more deterioration. Although self-preservation is still absolutely necessary for me, in order for me to remain upbeat I need to think of others too. 

Before I became ill a lot of my service to others was based on doing something for someone else. Now when I'm helping others most of the time it is based on being something - a friend, a listener, a shoulder to cry on, an empathiser, a smile, someone who shows love, someone without judgment, a supporter. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson said 
"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well."

Regardless of our abilities we can all find a way to be useful, honourable and compassionate. However, it is my belief that by doing this we will be happy. I believe we will find happiness when we lose ourselves in helping others. 



Friday, 15 April 2016

Amanda Carroll Art


Art, colour and the great outdoors are my therapy in a life consumed by pain and Amanda Carroll combines all three to produce art work that I simply can't stop looking at.

Despite living with a chronic illness Amanda produces art that brings the outdoors into our homes and I find looking at them is like a breath of fresh air. 


'Energy' an original seascape by Amanda Carroll

My favourites are the paintings of the waves. I find tranquility when I listen to and watch the waves of the sea, it's the place I feel the happiest. I love how Amanda has used shading and texture to portray the crashing of the waves so well that I can almost hear them and smell the salty, refreshing air. The two pieces are cleverly titled 'Freedom' and 'Energy'. Both words describe things that we crave whilst feeling trapped and worn down by pain and fatigue and yet they are traits that the majestic sea has in abundance. 


'Blaze' an original aurora painting by Amanda Carroll

Her paintings of the Aurora Borealis are also remarkable. The contrast of the light and dark create a breathtaking image that captures the beauty and awe of the real Northern Lights. 


'Into the Light' an original sunrise painting by Amanda Carroll. 

I'm drawn to Amanda's site regularly to view her artwork again and again as I see some of my fondest memories of sitting watching the sun set behind the sea perfectly illustrated in her seascape paintings. They allow me to be transported there without having to actually go anywhere. 

If you, like me, are a fan of Amanda and her art you should visit her new folksy shop where these stunning paintings are available to buy.

 You can also follow her blog where she puts updates, and unveils each new work of art.

You can also find Amanda on Facebook  
and Twitter.





Thursday, 7 April 2016

Conscious Crafties





I'm Karen and after becoming sick in 2011 almost overnight, I found my way to various support networks. I noticed that many of us turn to crafts to help distract from our illnesses and to feel useful again. Seeing so much untapped talent, the idea was born to create a community for everyone to showcase their work, in one place and give people a way of creating their own business. It was also a way for me to feel useful again, by using my skills to help others. ConsciousCrafties.com is about empowering us all to be successful through our crafts, tell our stories and meet new like minded friends who understand our struggles. I'm also hoping it plays a key part in changing the way disabled/sick people are viewed by the world. We can still contribute and are incredibly talented!!

ConsciousCrafties.com has been built in honour of Sam, my beautiful friend I met through sickness and our love of crafts. Her strong fight with Gastroparethis and POTS sadly ended in Oct 14. Heartbroken, I knew then, after years of thinking about it, the idea for us all to sell our crafts within a supportive community needed to be launched, so it could help people now and give them hope for the future.

Stories are told:
As most of us feel unheard, each 'Craftie' gets to tell their story on the site to help spread awareness of our (sometimes invisible) illnesses. Stories appear in the 'Meet the Crafties' page and also posted on Facebook and Twitter. We've gained a massive following on Facebook in such a short space of time (thank you everyone!) so our stories are seen by thousands. Our crafts are regularly shared through social networks and many of our Crafties have appeared in various online newsletters, all helping to increase sales whilst raising awareness. Every new Craftie also gets invited to our 'Crafties Community', a fun place to share crafts, selling tips and form close bonds with friends who understand our struggles.​

Here's my story:



In 2011 I was perfectly healthy going about my workaholic lifestyle when BOOM! - I started fainting up to 10 times a day and my bed became my best friend. A year later I was diagnosed with POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) a rare condition affecting the blood vessels and heart rate. There's no cure, but reaching out to others with the same condition has been a huge help in learning to live with it. 3 years later I was told my POTS was caused by EDS (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) a connective tissue disorder affecting the skin, cartilage, ligaments and blood vessels - everything that holds us together! I also have some bonus conditions: Fibromyalgia, Raynaud’s Disease, Chronic Pain Syndrome, Migraines and Asthma. Life has been tough, but I've met some wonderfully strong friends who also live with chronic illnesses.

About ConsciousCrafties.com
Conscious Crafties is a handmade craft buying and selling community for creative people living with chronic illness, disability or caring for those affected. www.ConsciousCrafties.com


If you would like to join up please visit Join the Crafties



Here's some testimonials from Crafties:
"Conscious Crafties has given me a direction. It has given me beautiful friends who understand. . . No questions asked if I am having a bad time. That understanding alone is HUGE. Looking back now, if it wasn't for Conscious Crafties, I would be stuck in that black hole. The support is great, everyone is so lovely and helpful even when they themselves are having a bad time of it. Its encouraged me to keep going with my crafts!" Hazel, Li'l H Crafts

"Conscious Crafties has given me motivation, an uplifting boost of confidence. That we are not alone and the opportunity to meet fellow crafty Spoonies ☺" x Claire, LS23 Bespoke Crafts 

"Conscious Crafties has been a lifeline, when I was lost and heading down a dark slippery slope, its given me something bright & shiny to focus on and a new purpose. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating such a wonderful community xoxox" Ceri, Cute Creations




Friday, 1 April 2016

Dream Accomplished: A Story of Cancer, A Mother's Love & Taylor Swift.






This week I 'met' a lady called Elizabeth, or as I knew her @ourtaylorstory 

I was feeling a little bit down after another set back in my blogging journey, when she offered me the chance to read her book  "Dream Accomplished: A Story of Cancer, A Mother's Love & Taylor Swift".

After a look at her Twitter profile I was intrigued and jumped at the chance to read it. She was prompt in sending it so I was able to start reading it that very same night, and reluctantly had to put it down a few chapters in so I could sleep. 

The next night I couldn't wait for the kids to sleep so I could begin reading again and I didn't want to stop. Although Elizabeth wrote about her experiences with her rare disease and the medical profession it wasn't a hard read and her story flowed well.

The book is split into two parts. The first part deals with her cancer journey, while part two focuses on their goal of meeting Taylor Swift. Elizabeth gives the reader the option at the beginning of the book to skip to part two if they just want the Taylor Swift story. 


I enjoyed reading part one, yet I wasn't prepared for all the emotions I would feel as Elizabeth describes the day she was told she had cancer and all the events that happened after. She writes in such a way that I could try to imagine what it felt like to be in her position and the plethora of emotion that goes with it as well as frustrated and exasperated at all the doctors with their conflicting theories that ensued. 
I was amazed and inspired by her strength as she never gives up. 

This part of the book is fantastic for people wanting to understand more about the process: medically, emotionally and physically, that someone goes through in a situation like this. Although Elizabeth stresses that this is her story and her experiences she is very comprehensive in her description of each stage and how the family experiences them, that I think many people will benefit from reading it.


Part two filled me with amazement at Elizabeth's tenacity once again and the mothers love that saw her push through her debilitating symptoms to pursue her goal to fulfill her daughters dream. I found the strong bond and love between Elizabeth, Marc and their daughter Page extremely endearing and found myself rooting for them throughout their adventures. So much so that I almost cheered out loud when they saw their first sign of success! 

I was also pleasantly surprised and moved by the kindness and generosity of Taylor Swift and the people around her. 


I enjoyed "Dream Accomplished: A Story of Cancer, A Mother's Love & Taylor Swift" by Elizabeth Gross and am impressed that she battled through her illness to share her story. I am grateful that she did and I'm sure it will benefit many others as it did me. 

Visit http://www.dreamaccomplished.com/buy.html to purchase the book, all profit goes to raise funds for cancer and invisible illness research and support. 





Sunday, 27 March 2016

Happy Easter!


Happy Easter to all who read my blog! Thank you! 

I've spent much of this Easter in bed, but this meme reminded me of the reason we celebrate Easter and that how I feel is only temporary. When this life is over I will have a working body once again. That's something to be happy about :) 

Saturday, 26 March 2016

The Importance of Good Self Care

I





For this years Mother's Day my sister and I decided to give my mum a pamper day at home. My sister prepared a lovely afternoon tea for us and provided treatment in the form of face masks, foot spa's and hand massages, to name a few.

I spend the vast majority of my day-to-day life resting, so I was taken by surprise at how therapeutic I found being pampered. I realised then what my poor achey body had been craving - good self care. I made it a goal to spend some of my spoons taking care of me

Self care doesn't come easy as I feel guilty and selfish, but as a mum if I take care of myself I benefit my family. In their research for the book 'Work andFamily-Allies or Enemies?' Stew Friedman and Jeff Greenhaus discovered "The more time that working mothers spent taking care of themselves, the better were the emotional and physical health of their children."

In addition Stew Friedman says "while it might seem noble in the short run to sacrifice the needs you have to cultivate your mind, body, and spirit, over time it’s a recipe for burnout." 

Everyone of us needs to spend our spoons wisely, and make sure we take time to replenish. 

The Mental Health America website also had this to say:
"Taking good care of yourself is paramount to the success of your recovery process. People in recovery find that their physical, spiritual, and emotional health are all connected, and that supporting one supports the others. Taking care of all aspects of you will increase the likelihood that you stay well."
(Underline added by me)

I'm a firm believer that we'll only have a shot at recovery if we treat it holistically - mind and body. I resolved to take care of myself better.


One place in particular that I found the pampering beneficial was my eyes. The cooling, refreshing mask was a nice contrast to the usual aches and pains I feel there, so when I went home I ordered one. 

A good gel eye mask has many benefits: 

• The coolness offers great relief from the constant aches and pains I usually feel in my face, particularly around the eyes and forehead. 
 

• The chilled mask helps to constrict the blood vessels, reduce puffiness and makes dark circles appear lighter and the skin smoother. 

• A cool mask helps to regulate my body temperature if I get too hot at night time (which I often do). 






I also use cucumbers for a more natural way to do the same job as the gel mask. They can reduce dark circles and the ascorbic acid helps to reduce puffiness. 

The added benefits to cucumber are that they are high in silica and anti-oxidants so they're anti-aging (something I'm definitely more interested in now I'm getting older) and help to soothe irritation.

I'm looking forward to taking care of myself more. 
What are some of the ways you take care of yourself? I'd love to hear them, leave a comment ๐Ÿ™‚


Sunday, 20 March 2016

Mr Brownstone by Yasuhiro Onishi

http://www.riseart.com/art/mr-brownstone-by-yasuhiro-onishi



I was browsing an online art gallery when I scrolled past Mr Brownstone and had to scroll back. As I looked into his face his sad countenance resonated within me. The other portrait work I have seen from Yasuhiro Onishi can be quite uncomfortable for me to look at with their piercing eyes, but I keep being drawn to Mr Brownstone. 
Although he has the piercing eyes with the dark circles and the little pupils, they convey a deep sadness and struggle. 

The beak on his nose suggests ridiculousness to me, making me think of a jester making others happy whilst hiding his turmoil and worry.

I guess that's why it resonated with me. Living with an invisible illness is exactly like that each day. Putting on a smile for others whilst hiding our struggles, worries and sadness. 



Let me know your thoughts in the comments below ๐Ÿ™‚



Kindness is the essence of greatness!





9 years ago I thought I was on the way to greatness, or what I deemed greatness. I had overcome the insecurities of my youth, I had found a job I loved and I had buckets of will power and motivation. 

When ME/CFS/SEID hit I lost all of it overtime. My limited capabilities meant that I had to stay in bed and I thought that I was achieving nothing. (I learnt that listening to your body, being able to pace and live within your limitations takes a different kind of will power and motivation!)

What I like about the quote above is that it emphasises that greatness doesn't come from all we achieve. To be great starts with who we are. Our kindness has a great impact on those around us and it's affects are far reaching. We can achieve more than we know. We can  be kind no matter what our capabilities :) 

I'd love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment below. 

Monday, 14 March 2016

Purpose in Pain




We all experience pain in some form or other, but living with chronic pain for 8 years has caused me to question many times why I need to experience it. 

I'm a firm believer that there's purpose to this life and that there's a reason for everything, but pain all day-everyday can feel like a punishment and I end up wondering whatever it was I did wrong! 

Haruki Murakami wrote "I can bear any pain as long as it has meaning." And I feel like that - give me a purpose and I'll do my best to endure it. When I'm in the midst of PEM (post exertional malaise) and the pain feels more intense than usual, however, I struggle to find meaning for it. 

John Keats said "Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?" 

Orson F Whitney said something similar when he wrote "No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility. All that we suffer … builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God". 

What good are we if we're not improving and growing through life? Pain is an intensive training course and no one is immune, each one of us suffers in one way or another.

Life would be pretty boring if it was all plain sailing. You can't appreciate happiness if you don't know sadness. Harlan Ellison explains it well "know that pain is the most important thing in the universes. Greater than survival, greater than love, greater even than the beauty it brings about. For without pain, there can be no pleasure. Without sadness, there can be no happiness. Without misery there can be no beauty. And without these, life is endless, hopeless, doomed and damned."

Furthermore, enduring pain and suffering enables us to be greater friends. We become more sensitive to the pains of others and more aware of their needs.

Yet pain can also be so isolating. Though it's my belief that we don't have to go through this alone. "We can feel the love of God. The Savior has promised angels on our left and our right to bear us up. And He always keeps His word." (Henry B Eyring.)


I'm inspired every day by those of you who endure so much, you're example helps spur me on. 
How do you get through each day? Does anything help you find meaning in your 'pain and troubles'? Share your experiences in the comments below. 










Sunday, 6 March 2016

Mothers Day

Happy Mother's Day to all mum's out there. You're doing a fantastic job! 


Thursday, 25 February 2016

9 ways I cope with anxiety




Some days I'm riddled with anxiety. For a long time I didn't know why I was anxious, it was just a general feeling that something was going to go wrong. But this week, as I've been pondering on these feelings I realised that sometimes it wasn't that something was going to go wrong, more like I was going to cause something to go wrong.


I have a chronic illness and a little bit of responsibility. It's so hard to muster all the strength and concentration I need to fulfill that responsibility that I worry I'm going to get something wrong. 


The silly thing is that worrying about it is exacerbating my ill health and more likely to cause my worries to come true!


Although I struggle to make my anxiety disappear, here are 9 ways I have found to help me cope with it: 


Recognising and accepting that I feel anxious. 


• Giving myself a pep talk: to be brave and to go out of my comfort zone. 


• Changing the negative thoughts to positive ones: from "I can't" to "I can" and realising that the negative thoughts aren't fact.


• Being kind to myself and allowing mistakes to happen. Remembering mistakes are good things if we learn from them. 




Deep breathing. I breathe in and let it flow to my belly to the count of 5, then out and count to five.


• Being organised and allowing myself plenty of time to do whatever it is I need to do. 


• Listening to music I love. Any genre, but it's usually something I can sing to. Singing is good for calming the soul ... Regardless of whether you can hold a tune or not! 


• Setting myself goals throughout the day or week, that I can achieve. This helps me to feel positive about accomplishing something. 


Prayer, is a big one for me. I pray a lot when I'm anxious. However, it's the regular communication with a higher power that enables me to develop an eternal perspective (the bigger picture) which steadies my soul and helps me to realise that my anxieties have no basis in reality.



What's been your experience? Share what helps you calm your anxieties in the comments below ๐Ÿ™‚

Friday, 19 February 2016

Acceptance

A friend had posted this meme on Facebook the other day.





It struck a chord with me because the ongoing process of accepting has been an important part of helping me cope with living with a chronic illness for so long.

When I was young I didn't have concrete plans for how my life would go, but I would envision myself in the future, and never once did I envision a future where I would be incapacitated for years. 
I waltzed through my teenage years and early twenties taking for granted the body that allowed me to walk, run and dance whenever I wanted. I worked, I served, I played and lived life as fully as I knew how. 

Overnight it changed and once I was fed up of mourning I realised that I had to adjust to a new life.

Accepting things as they are is hard especially when it seems like you're accepting something that nobody else has to accept.  It's far easier to compare your life to those around you and feel hard done by.



However, acceptance becomes easier if we persist with it and realise, as the quote says above, that there is a way through it.

I find it important that I don't spend all day 'logged on' to social media. Although this is my main link to a social life, it isn't real life and seeing everyone's successes leaves me demoralised.

One of the hardest things I have to do, but imperative to managing my condition, and to accepting my circumstances, is to live within my limitations. If I boom and bust (which happens more than I'd like to admit) the physical payback makes me resentful of my limitations again. When I pace myself and live within my limitations I feel physically better and can cope better emotionally.

Then, for me, it is a matter of changing perspective. I think it's a case of losing that sense of entitlement to an easy life, and getting rid of the idea that other people have an easier or better life. I don't know of one person that isn't going through one trial or another. We can't compare them because we all have our crosses to bear.

I love this quote I found here

Of course there is no formula for success except, perhaps, an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.” ~Arthur Rubinstein

I would class a successful life as a HAPPY life, and I'm learning the hard way that happiness is a choice. We cannot be happy if we don't accept our circumstances beyond our control. As the Mindfulness Jar tweeted

'Make the most of now - that is all there ever is'

What do you think? Has acceptance been easy for you? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Monday, 15 February 2016

ChloeClik Art






 Hello, my names ChloeClik, I’m 23 years old, an artist, photographer, writer, singer musician, day dreamer and all round love of life. I also have CFS M.E and fibromyalgia and asthma. My illness and passions are in constant battle together, some days I can go out take lots of photos and some days I’m stuck at home with agonising pain unable to barely lift my camera. The same applies with everything, guitar and singing. It’s tough and it’s like being stuck on one of those vertical rollercoasters it’s going up and down and up and down. 

But this isn’t going to be a negative blog post, in fact I’m going to say what good things my M.E has done for me. It might seem surprising, surely an illness as horrible as M.E wouldn’t have done any good but when you’re ill like that and your body has turned against you you survive by seeking out the positive moments and letting it empower you and inspire you to not give in. 




I guess I should start at the beginning. I was a really happy, energetic child who loved life, school and was practically bouncing off the walls. Then M.E struck. Age eight I was suddenly in so much pain, I couldn’t walk, couldn’t go to school. Couldn’t do anything. A big black curtain had just come thump over my future and I was just faced with a black square of despair. But, it was in that black square that I found my love of art. I’d always enjoyed drawing and writing but feeling so ill this was now the only thing I could do. So I drew and I wrote and when I was too ill to do even that I’d lie on my back in my bed day dreaming stories and fantasy worlds that I’d one day put onto paper. 





First I started with pencil drawings and I’d turn my hands black with graphite, I did that for years. Mum always said ‘Draw colour, bring it to life.” Personally I loved black and white but one day I drew a lion. I put it on this art website and was sad it didn’t really get many favourites. So in a spur of inspiration I got my pack of watercolours and brought it to life. Suddenly the favourites were flooding in and this lion is my most popular image so far. For my birthday my family had it printed as A3 and placed in a regal black frame on my wall. Every time I see that lion and his wise eyes I see my whole life in him and how what started in black and white turned into a world of colour. 




I also really got into photography, so much in fact that I want to make that my career as well as being an author and illustrator. I can’t do the photography part just yet because of my health but in the meantime I’m studying a photography degree from home through the Open College of the Arts which I absolutely love. 




When I was eight I had one big dream, pass all my exams, go to University, get married, travel the world in a combi like the Wild Thornberries. M.E stopped me doing all of that. But when I look back I see how I have fulfilled the first few of those dreams, just in a non conventional way. I could only do two GCSE but I passed  I get to do my Uni course from home and I have traveled the world through all my books and art. As for the combi and travelling the world, well I’m learning to drive and that’s something I thought I’d never be well enough to do. So who knows 


You can see my art in multiple places, I’m mostly active on Instagram, ChloeClik and Facebook ChloeClikArt and some of my art is available on Society6

















Thursday, 4 February 2016

Spoon Art



My name is Nick Lutes.

I'm from the Milwaukee area in Wisconsin. I'm in my mid thirties and have had fibromyalgia most of my life. I wasn't aware of it until about six years ago when I first started missing work because of it and also chronic fatigue syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome. By late 2010, I was unable to work at all and started seeing specialists. I was bounced around from one doctor to another because no one had a definitive answer or diagnosis for me. I felt like a guinea pig and a pin cushion because of all the tests, blood work, and trial n error with pharmaceuticals. I eventually made my way to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in 2013, where I got an official diagnosis of severe fibromyalgia and moderate chronic fatigue syndrome (also known now as Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease, or SEID), and irritable bowel syndrome. Other doctors have made mention of restless leg syndrome, Raynauds, and a few other things, but not officially diagnosed.
Since the trip to the Mayo Clinic, I've continued to research things on my own and have made progress by finding several supplements and other various treatments that have helped me find get some relief from the pain and fatigue. I'm nowhere near pain-free, but I'm not always maxed out on the pain scale.
 


Another revelation made at the Mayo Clinic is the fact that I've had fibromyalgia (and possibly CFS, too) since I was about 10-11 years old. I was always told to "suck it up", or the pain was downplayed as something more logical, like growing pains or sports injuries instead of chronic pain. I've had many doubters as well. I've always been one to help others and take on a lot of responsibility. I worked in the heating/air conditioning/refrigeration trade for nearly 15 years consecutively, I coached youth hockey for almost 9 years, played hockey for 20 years, and was always very busy with home repairs and renovations. Over the past year,  with the help of my very supportive fiancรฉe Kim,  I've been able to increase my energy some and got sick of letting my skills and talents go to waste.  I decided I wanted to try and generate some income for my household again (still waiting on SSD), but since I'd be unable to hold a job with scheduled hours, I'd need to do something where I work whatever hours I want/can. I also thought making things for Spoonies (chronic illness fighters) would not only help raise awareness, but they'd be an understanding and forgiving customer base when I'm not feeling well. I make dog tags out of spoons that have inspirational things stamped on them. I also make bracelets, keychains, and several other spoonie items. I also utilize other silverware to make stainless steel sculptures like flowers, butterflies, dragonflies, and more. I make the personalized items to order, AND also make custom spoonie items and sculptures on request.
 


 
You can find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SpoonsFromASpoonie
 
I run two fibromyalgia pages on Facebook as well: https://www.facebook.com/FibroForUs
 
I'm on Twitter: @NickFFU & @SpoonArtNickFFU