#MakeChesterProud

Trigger Warning: I talk about depression and suicide in this post.
(Photo is from wikimedia commons)

If you need support, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

It’s 100% okay to ask for help.

Like many people all over the world, Linkin Park was/is a source of validation and solace in dark times. I still find myself listening to their songs when I need the outlet they offer. I’ve never dealt with addiction, but depression and thoughts of suicide, feeling trapped and alone, I understand those feelings. I don’t often get to that dark place as often as I used to (when I was a teen it was horrible), but I still find myself there at times.

When I found out Chester (and Avicii and Robin Williams) had died of mental illness complications, I was incredibly sad. I was sad for him, that the darkness plagued him had finally won. Even people with the financial means for great healthcare have trouble. People we think are somehow not touched by the same problems that get to us regular folks have struggles too. I felt terrible for his bandmates, friends and family because that had to be uniquely painful. Then for his fans, especially those, like me, who had found acceptance in his and Linkin Park’s music. But I was also proud of him, he’d used the depression to create music and songs that touched many. He’d fought that battle for a long time and did amazing things. He helped a lot of people. So #makechesterproud today however you feel that works for you. (Self-care, writing, listening to someone, hugging your pet/friends/family, saying hi to someone you know is struggling, attending a memorial, donating time or money to a cause,…)

For me, I’m sharing a couple things today in addition to self-care and cat snuggles. (I’m having a flare today and I have to do something later and need to rest for it. I was at a funeral yesterday for a family member and I’m a bit wrung out.)

First, this article from The Mighty that includes Linkin Park songs that folks said were influential for them.  I would add Iridescent to that list.

Second, memorial events are going on all over the world if anyone wishes to join online or in person.

You are not alone. You matter.

Sending virtual comfort and praise to Linkin Park and Chester’s family and friends.

Blog Challenge: Liebster Award

A fellow blogger, Kim who writes I tripped over a Stone, shared that she was nominated to do this blog challenge, and nominated anyone who wanted to join in.

I’ve been staring at spreadsheets and creating newsletters for long enough that my brain needs a break. I even took a nap today, but still tired. Blah!


How it works:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Share eleven facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the eleven questions the blogger gave you.
  4. Nominate eleven bloggers who deserve the award.
  5. Create eleven original questions for the nominees to answer.
  6. Let them know they have been nominated.

Eleven facts about me:

  1. I wear the mantle of Crazy Cat Lady with pride, and like most cat people, there are more photos of my furbabies on my phone than anything else. I’m the human to 5 cats.
  2. I am a huge geek/nerd. My house is full of collectibles! Mainly comic books, sci-fi, and fantasy. There is a Millenium Flacon in my kitchen and a Tie-fighter in my living room. Thor’s hammer is sitting next to my Pip-Boy box.
  3. I love dark chocolate, Marrons Glaces, pizza, cheese, and mints.
  4. I make seriously good lobster mac and cheese, among other things. I enjoy cooking and baking, and do a lot of special foods for the people I know with food allergies and sensitivities. I keep a list of all my friends’ and family’s food allergies and sensitivities in an excel spreadsheet.
  5. Hats! Hats! Hats!
  6. I want to make webcomics and write stories. I’m taking online drawing classes.
  7. I’ve taught myself several skills such as crochet, baking, photography, and doll wig making. I have way too many hobbies. I plan to sell the dolls wigs for mulah.
  8. I literally have a wall of board/card games.
  9. I’m a tea snob.
  10. I collect art.
  11. I’m working on a Bachelor’s Degree in IT – Project management.

“Take eleven photographs that will help us understand what you blog about and post them! There is no right or wrong way to do this. You can write explanations or not. It is all up to you! Help us learn about your purpose!” – Kim

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My family! The reason I get up in the morning.

 

 

 

 

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Our local botanic garden has stunning water lilies. (Photo by me)
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My first crochet project.

 

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The not so glamorous basket of medicines.

 

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Second doll wig I’ve made. Yes, I’m an adult and I play with dolls, get over it.

 

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You are safe with me, I am an ally (From the MKE LGBT website)

 

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I survived.

 

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Healthy relationships take many forms.

 

 

 

 

Ok, so I ended up with 12 photos. 😉


If you are somehow still with me, I nominate you to do this also!

Your mission, should your choose to accept it.

Make eleven memes about your life and what you blog about. Travel, chronic illness, food, art, whichever.

Here’s my example.

 

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My chronic illnesses cause brain fog.

 

 

 

 

The Dreaded Pain Scale

One of the things about being a chronic pain patient that I find the most frustrating is being asked: ” On a scale of 1 – 10, what would you rate your pain?” You want me to what now? I *live* in chronic pain. You expect me to categorize it in a convenient little number for the electronic medical record system (EMS)?! As if chronic health conditions were that simple! HA!

Another chronic illness blogger who writes I Tripped Over a Stone (check out her blog), suggested that I write a piece about the pain scale and dialogue to use when being asked to rank pain.  She thought my dialogue for working with health professionals about pain was a sound one, so I’m going to share it with you, in the hope that it may help.

(Skip to the end if you only want the script)


But first!

We as patients have to change the way we think and approach medical professionals. There is significant mistrust between patients and healthcare folks, to the point, it’s palpable in many encounters. And can be downright hostile at times. I have found that beating my fists against the proverbial wall with them does no good, and only reinforces their bias and mistrust. They are scared of us, and to cover it up they gaslight and judge. They feel cornered because we are a potential lawsuit waiting to happen. Someone somewhere traumatized these people, either by imparting heavy bias (medical school) or from personal experience. Some of them are cynical and jaded, and others flat out spooked.

Now that we’ve humanized healthcare workers again, we can come from a place of compassion and work on building that bridge of trust. Yes, it’s a burden we’d prefer not to have (We are the sick ones after all!), it takes patience and work. And we will have to deal with folks who are willfully ignorant and judgemental about our health, professionals, friends, family, random people… it’s part of our life as chronically ill folks. But these people are human too, and are suseptible to fears and mistrust.


So about the pain scale! Here’s what I usually say when asked to rank my pain on the very non-chronic pain friendly scale.

“This is a tough one! I live with chronic pain between a 4-7, which is a challenge but I usually manage. However, the pain that brought me in today is an 8, which brings my overall pain level up significantly and I am not able to do normal daily tasks or rest.”

Some of them will insist on a number, give them what you feel is “closest to”, but keep advocating for yourself. Then write the hospital, doctor’s office, electronic medical records companies, for a better way for chronic pain patients to express their pain.