Posted on 9 Comments

Domestic Violence: Breaking the Cycle For Good

For Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Pamela Jessen shared her story of partner abuse. In her post entitled Domestic Violence (It Affects Us All), she included some of the more covert forms of partner abuse and provides some tips on how to begin working toward making a clean break. Many people assume the story ends there, but it’s really just the beginning of the long process required to heal from domestic violence. In today’s post, I will discuss breaking codependent cycles in your life so you can begin leading a healthy new life.

Abuse victims don’t have to remain victims. You don’t have to continue to put yourself second to the needs of others and there’s nothing selfish about it. It’s quite natural and healthy (but your abuser doesn’t want you to know this). The reality is that no one will ever care for you right if you don’t care for yourself.

Anyone can learn how to become a survivor and live in their own truth instead. You can have a healthy mind and lead healthy life with a healthy partner. It doesn’t happen magically. It takes a little work and a lot of change, as does anything worth achieving. I can tell you firsthand the work is more than worth it and pays off heavily in happiness dividends. Change can be scary, but the alternative is even scarier. From 2014 to 2017 murders by intimate partners has risen more than 19 percent in the US. Every day, we lose an average of 6 women to partner violence in the US. Don’t kid yourself into thinking you could never be one of them.

Tips from a survivor of domestic violence who overcame her codependency and found true self-satisfaction and happiness, and then found the relationship of her dreams. You do have choices; put yourself first without feeling guilty. Begin your journey today.

Ritual Abuse Creates Perpetual Victims

As a child growing up in an atmosphere of ritualized abuse and neglect, I was quick to recognize how these patterns repeated from me throughout my life and in all of my relationships. As the family scapegoat and black sheep, I was used and abused by everyone including my siblings and extended family, select teachers, friends and boyfriends. By the time I hit high school, I’d been molested and raped, bullied on a regular basis at school and landed myself in several unhealthy relationships with boys.

By the time I was 18, I was planning my first wedding, to a man who had already tossed me out of a moving pick up truck and beat me over the head with a glass coke bottle. I thought it was simply what I deserved because I’d never known anything else. What I was suffering from is known as distorted thinking, and it’s something that happens to all victims of abuse.

By this point, I even knew about codependency; I’d been going to CODA (codependents anonymous) for teens, a group organized by a couple of the counselors at my school, as well as individual counseling. But I didn’t yet understand or believe that I had the power to change these cycles; I was simply desperate to be loved and that desperation lead me to take many risks and accept the good treatment I could get, even though I knew it wouldn’t last. I thought I could work on these problems and still seek that love and magically everything would somehow be okay. It wasn’t.

After less than a year under his heel, I knew that I would die by his hand or maybe even my own. I got the courage to escape one night during a fight that began to escalate. I returned the very next day with my mother and brother in tow. On my way out, I dumped all of his guns in the dumpster. Maybe not the safest thing to do, but the last thing I wanted was to be stalked by someone fully locked and loaded.

Even after leaving, I didn’t take my own codependent issues seriously. I knew I had them, but I felt that if I simply became hard, I wouldn’t fall into the codependent trap anymore. I became very particular about who I’d date, but I swung too far in the wrong direction, letting the chip on my shoulder take the lead, thinking that if I proved myself tough enough, no one would dare ever try to abuse or use me ever again. In my ignorance, I hurt some very nice people, because I assumed all men were the same and deserved my wrath for all I’d experienced.

From Domestic Violence: Breaking the Cycle, a must read for all victims of partner abuse.

The truth I eventually had to swallow was that unless I put in the hard work of healing my own codependency and non-existent self-esteem and learned how to love and respect myself, I only had two choices: I would be miserable and alone or miserable and abused. I didn’t like those answers, so I got to work. Here is a list of the things I had to do to get healthy and finally find a relationship that I can maintain without falling into the classic patterns I kept falling back into.

  1. I had to process through my trauma, all of it, in a safe and supportive environment. For me, that was therapy.
  2. I had to accept that the trauma I experienced left me with a lot of protective mechanisms that only worked in dysfunctional relationships.
  3. I had to have a genuine desire to examine and change those protective mechanisms before I could attempt a healthy, successful relationship with someone.
  4. I had to accept that while I wasn’t responsible for creating these protective mechanisms and unhealthy habits, it was my responsibility to work toward changing them. A bonus; taking responsibility actually feels pretty good.
  5. I had to remove from my life and influence all those people with whom I was still conducting unhealthy relationships. In my case, this was my entire family and even some friends and it was a must to avoid being triggered by old traumas and falling back into old habits.
  6. I had to learn about what healthy relationships were in order to begin to try to emulate one with someone.
  7. I had to accept responsibility for the abused little girl who lived inside me that I’d been trying so hard to run from. I was still her, no matter how much I began to change and I couldn’t just leave her behind. She needed my unconditional love and acceptance, my nurturing and my respect so I could become a whole person and accept all the parts of myself. To feel safe, she needed to know I would never, ever allow anyone to abuse her again, that she had my respect, loyalty and love. All things I had been denied throughout my life.
  8. I had to stop seeing myself through the eyes of my abusers to see who I really was, by changing the distorted thinking I developed and examining it under an objective lens.
  9. I had to accept that I deserved good things in my life in order to attract them.
  10. More than anything, I had to forgive myself for the things I’d done wrong and would continue to do wrong as I tried to live a new kind of life.

My Blueprint for Overcoming Codependency

Everyone needs to follow their own path to defeat codependency, but these are the things that worked best for me after much trial and error. Perhaps they can help you to build your own roadmap to success:

  1. Commit to rejecting any and all new relationships for at least 1 year. When the year is up evaluate your progress and consider whether you need to continue for another year. Do whatever you need to stick with this.
  2. Find a counselor who specializes in codependency. You need a counselor you feel comfortable and safe with, but who will also push back and offer strong guidance. You aren’t looking for a mother or a yes man and definitely not someone you can manipulate. You’re looking for someone who’s going to tell you when you’re wrong and call you out on your shit, and then they need to be able to offer good exercises to offer to help change it. It is very important to process through all of your experiences, but it’s never enough. You must begin working toward change, as well.
  3. Get to know and nurture your inner child. Love them unconditionally by accepting and forgiving him or her for all their faults. Place the blame where it belongs; on the people who hurt you and failed to protect you. Give the shame back to those with whom it truly belongs and forgive yourself for ever carrying it.
  4. Utilize cognitive behavioral therapy exercises to train yourself on how to identify and change codependent behaviors and distorted thinking.
  5. Work with your counselor to remove those people from your life with which you still have codependent relationships. You’ll begin to identify and recognize these relationships as you work with your therapist. If you absolutely cannot terminate a codependent relationship due to extenuating circumstances, work with your counselor to develop strategies to resist falling into the same old habits with them and how best to set boundaries.
  6. Practice building healthy new boundaries with coworkers, friends and new people in your life.
  7. Do the work. Put in the time with workbooks and exercises and try to figure things out on your own as much as possible. You won’t have that counselor forever and relying on them too heavily can be a form of codependency itself. You want to become your own person and that means accepting responsibility for your choices and their outcome.
  8. Accept that it’s an ongoing process that you have to continue to work at with the people in your life. You will never “graduate” and no matter how well your life is going. It’s imperative to check in with yourself every now and then and evaluate whether you’ve fallen into any old, unhealthy patterns.
  9. Be vigilant of how life changes can lead to setbacks. For me, becoming disabled by my chronic illness caused me to digress because it was such a big hit to my self-esteem. I was naïve about how that would prey on past and reassert old bad tapes and distorted thinking.
  10. Even when you’ve achieved a healthy relationship, that doesn’t mean you won’t experience new challenges to your mental health or that of the relationship. Be honest with your partner about everything you’ve experienced and respect when they feel like you might be practicing some self-sabotaging behaviors. If you feel it’s a relationship issue, enter into counseling together. It’s up to you both to maintain a healthy relationship.
  11. If you find yourself in an unhealthy relationship, get help right away. We all experience setbacks. It’s when we choose to ignore them that they become a problem. Remember it takes two to tango and if your partner isn’t willing to accept their part of the responsibility, you probably won’t be able to achieve the relationship you want with them. Remember, your ultimate responsibility is how you behave and what you allow in your life. No one has to stay in an unhealthy relationship. Ultimately, it is a choice and your responsibility. Get the help you need to get out.
From Domestic Violence: Breaking the Cycle for Good, a must read for victims of partner violence.

Overcoming Objections

It never fails that we humans resist change and the easiest way for us to do that is to come up with reasonable objections as to why we can’t do something. The truth is we’re really just afraid of change and will resist with everything in us if we let ourselves.

#1: I can’t afford Therapy

This is probably the number one complaint I hear, but the fact of the matter is there are free counseling services available just about everywhere. Check with DV/SA (Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault) organizations. If they don’t have a free of charge or sliding scale counseling program in house, odds are they know of a few in the area. If you don’t have a local organization, call the national hotline for your area. They will have options for you.

#2: I didn’t grow up abused, so I won’t have any problem creating a healthy relationship

Even if you come from the world’s most loving home, experiencing violence at any point in our lives impacts how we think and feel long term. Every person who has experienced relationship violence needs counseling. Sometimes we even find that our seemingly bland and benign childhood was actually filled with covert forms of abuse and that our parents still managed to transfer all their shame onto us. It never hurts to give therapy a try, even if you think you don’t need it.

#3: I don’t need counseling. I need someone to love me

We all need love, and in truth is does help, but we can’t really be receptive and accepting that someone truly loves us until we’ve learned to love ourselves. After all, if you can’t truly love and accept yourself, how can you trust that someone else possibly could? Incidentally, I learned that self-love is by far the most rewarding kind. My relationship with my husband means a great deal to me, but it comes second. I know I can survive without him because I know who I am and that I’m perfectly able to take care of myself, even with all my health limitations.

#4 People don’t really change. I am who I will always be.

If you think that way, you’re probably right. You will always be the same and your life will continue to be mired in the same problems. Change takes hard work and responsibility. It can be scary. But you can change and you can achieve happiness. The only thing holding you back is the courage to try. I’m certainly very glad I tried and I can’t imagine my life without having done so. I anticipate it would be a life filled with regret. The only thing I regret now is that I didn’t do the work sooner.

#5 I can change him/her

As I stated in #4, change is possible. However, it’s only possible if you want to change and fully embrace it. You can’t change someone else, no matter how hard you try. Concentrate on you. You are the only person you are truly responsible for, unless you have minor age children. If you have minor age children, then you owe it to them and yourself to get free and break those patterns. Dysfunction breeds dysfunction and no matter how young they are or how well they pretend they aren’t affected and don’t notice, THEY DO.

Life can be terrible, long and hard living with abuse. Break the cycle. For yourself and the generations that come after. You don’t have to be a victim anymore!

Additional Reading on Codependency:

Advertisements
Posted on 1 Comment

Fibromyalgia and Pet Therapy

by guest author Pamela Jessen

Fibromyalgia can be a lonely disease. Staying connected with friends and family becomes difficult when chronic pain and fatigue make it hard to get out and about like you used to. Sometimes, having a pet can make all the difference in the world!

Not only will a furry friend give you some companionship, but it turns out that pet therapy can actually be a pretty effective way of dealing with fibromyalgia pain. Here’s how it works.

What Is Pet Therapy

woman holding adult siberian husky
Photo by andres chaparro on Pexels.com

Pet therapy is a guided interaction between a person and a trained animal. It also involves the animal’s handler. The purpose of pet therapy is to help someone recover from or cope with a health problem or mental disorder. Basically, it involves using specially trained animals like cats and dogs to provide comfort to people who suffer from diseases like fibromyalgia, cancer, dementia, etc. The animals provide companionship while the patient pets or plays with them, reducing the amount of stress and pain they feel.

The biggest concern when it comes to pet therapy is making sure that the animals are well-trained and vaccinated. Because pet therapy is often done in hospitals, doctors want to be sure that a dog won’t get loose and run around contaminating the area.

With that being said, pet therapy, when done by a professional, is perfectly safe and can be very effective in treating fibromyalgia pain.

What Are The Benefits Of Pet Therapy?

Pet therapy builds on the pre-existing human-animal bond. Interacting with a friendly pet can help many physical and mental issues. It can help reduce blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health. It can also release endorphins that produce a calming effect. This can help alleviate pain, reduce stress, and improve your overall psychological state.

How Can Pet Therapy Ease Fibromyalgia Pain?

siamese cat
Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

While the idea that simply petting a cat or dog can actually help your fibromyalgia pain seems a little far-fetched, there’s some basic science that backs it up. You see, petting an animal has been shown to cause your body to release lower levels of cortisol, which is the hormone linked to stress. And cortisol levels are directly linked to the amount of pain people with fibromyalgia feel.

And in addition to helping deal with your fibromyalgia pain, pet therapy also has other benefits. Depression and anxiety are both common among people with fibromyalgia, and it turns out that pet therapy can also help significantly with those symptoms. People who engage in pet therapy report consistently lower levels of stress and anxiety than people who don’t. There’s something about stroking a companion animal that lends a level of comfort to people who are suffering.

And taking care of an animal also helps people with fibromyalgia get more involved in daily life. Taking the animal on walks or playing with them in the park are great ways to coax yourself out of bed. And that’s especially true on days when your fibro pain makes you want to just close the curtains and go to sleep. So, a therapy animal can even be a link to the rest of the world when you have fibromyalgia.

So pet therapy can not only help you reduce your fibromyalgia pain, it can help you feel happier and less anxious.

How Can You Start?

woman wearing gray jacket beside white puppy
Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on Pexels.com

Your doctor or therapist managing your treatment will administer pet therapy. A trained handler, often the pet’s owner, will take the animal to every meeting and work under your doctor or therapist’s direction to help you reach your goals. In most cases, the handlers work as volunteers. Discussion of proper pet handling is needed to ensure the safety of both the person receiving treatment and the pet.

Pet Therapy BenefitsOr if you prefer, you can also purchase your own animal that has been trained to be a therapy animal. There are lots of different breeders and trainers. And one should be able to help you find what you are looking for. A quick google search should be enough to find some in your area.

So maybe you’re the kind of person who hates having to leave their loyal pet behind. Well, getting them certified to provide therapy means that you can get comfort from them anywhere you go. And that can be a great thing when you’re suddenly struck by a fibromyalgia flare-up during your daily routine.

Animals make great companions, and it turns out that they might actually be great for treating fibromyalgia pain too. So if you’re tired of trying side-effect riddled medications, some alternative pet therapy may just be for you.

Outlook

pexels-photo-1323256.jpeg
Photo by Dids on Pexels.com

The success of pet therapy depends on establishing realistic goals and expectations and meeting those goals. You and your doctor or therapist will establish these goals at the beginning of your treatment. You’ll also discuss how to reach those goals and how long it will take.

Your doctor or therapist will monitor your progress and help you stay on track to meet your goals. If your progress is slower or faster than expected, they may alter your treatment plan.


PamJune2018About the Author

My name is Pamela Jessen, and I live in Langford, BC, just outside of Victoria. I am happily married to my amazing husband Ray, we are proud parents of 2 grown kids and three wonderful grandsons. I am formerly employed as an Administrative Specialist and am a Certified Event Planner. With my career behind me and now being on Long Term Disability, I am a blogger who writes about Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue and Invisible Illness. My blog is called There Is Always Hope and can be found at https://pamelajessen.com .  I am currently a Moderator for a blogging group on Facebook called Sharing Inspiring Promoting Bloggers.

In addition to blogging, I am an active volunteer with the Patient Volunteer Network, an organization in British Columbia that gives ordinary people the ability to have a say in how healthcare is delivered in our province. I currently sit on 4 different committees. Outside of PVN, I have also done volunteer work for Island Health as a Patient Advisor, I was on the Advisory Committee for Opioid Guidelines in Canada, and I recently gave my time to the Downtown Victoria Business Association’s Busker Festival.

I love to craft and create, play on the computer, write short stories and poetry and I enjoy reading True Crime and Biographies. Despite my daily pain, I am living a blessed life.

Pet Therapy Pin2
Pin me for easy reference!

 

Posted on 2 Comments

Neck Strengthening Exercises

These resistance exercises for the neck are so simple, I had a tough time conveying the concept. Basically, you’re going to push against your head in order to create resistance; something for your neck to have to fight against. You can’t really see it in the video, because you’re not supposed to move your head, you just meet your hand with equal resistance. It should remain in basically the same position as you resist the force of your hand. You want to do these exercises coming from all four directions, both sides, front and back. Keep your hand position toward the top of the skull on each side. Your hand should be positioned on the center of your forehead when facing the front, so the pressure is high on your skull, but well balanced. On the sides of the head, your hands should be slightly in front of and above your ears. In the back, it should be a mirror of the positioning on your forehead.  It doesn’t really matter if you do a whole set before moving to another side or one repetition; just do what’s most comfortable for you and gets you in a good rhythm. They will help you to gradually build up the muscles in your neck. You can hold them beginning at a count of three as I do in this video and work your way up to a longer hold and more repetitions. You should not experience any pain with this exercise. If you do, you may be exerting too much pressure and need to ease up. You may also benefit from more magnesium in your diet and/or myofascial therapy. if you have persistently sore muscles.

I look at these exercises as a way to maintain a healthy neck. If you already have neck issues that you’re struggling with, seek a therapist and imagining, if necessary. I’ve gone through five or six different head and neck therapies and there’s one I felt was most effective, but of course I’ve lost all the information I had on it and haven’t seen the practitioner for years. I had terrible neck pain for the longest time, but never could quite determine how much was attributed to coat hanger headaches and how much was the damage to my cervical spine caused by my degenerative disc disease. I do have instability in my neck from a couple of herniated discs, but once I got my POTS under control and had been working on  my head, neck and shoulders by fasciablasting them for about a year, my neck pain resolved, with the exception of the occasional twinge.

The important things to remember during this exercise is that you maintain good posture while doing it, try not to hyper extend or overexert your neck by pushing too hard or doing too many reps, and be sure to keep your movements slow, measured and steady. Jerking movements to the neck can be damaging and of course that’s exactly what we want to avoid. Since you can vary the amount of pressure, number of repetitions and length of time you hold the movement, it’s easy to increase the challenge of this exercise. Finally, in my opinion these exercises are safer than flexion and extension exercises for zebras, which primarily involve stretching and could damage our already fragile collagen.

Neck Strengthening Pin
Pin me for quick reference!

Posted on 3 Comments

Dysautonomia and Achieving a Better Quality of Life Through Exercise – The Unchargeables

Written by Capricious Lestrange for The Unchargeables October 2, 2018 and reprinted with permission. The original can be found here: Dysautonomia and Achieving a Better Quality of Life Through Exercise – The Unchargeables


Did you know that regular exercise can actually improve the symptoms and quality of life for POTS patients more effectively than a beta blocker? While doctors often reach for the prescription pad to cure our healthcare issues, diet and exercise are often key players in health issues, and dysautonomia is no exception. For many, a combination of medications, along with changes in diet and exercise is the answer to achieving their best health with the many conditions that fall under the dysautonomia umbrella. Exercise is an integral part of that equation. I didn’t see significant improvement in my own Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) until I began to incorporate exercise into my daily routine.

The Supporting Evidence

When beta blockers were compared to exercise over a three month trial, it was found that while both decreased heart rate, the medication did little to make patients feel any better, while exercise impacted the overall quality of life for patients. “The exercise worked better than the medicine to restore upright blood circulation, improve kidney function and quality of life, all problems in POTS, the researchers say (Exercise).”

Of course one doesn’t just start doing jumping jacks or running track with dysautonomia. The first thing you want to do is speak with your doctor and get cleared for exercise. Your doctor can also help you choose a healthy target heart rate and ranges for cardio exercise. It may also be a good idea to work with a physical therapist to help you decide what level of exercise to begin with and what’s safest for you. Dysautonomia International suggests that some patients may even benefit from a cardiac rehabilitation program.

Modifying Exercise for Dysautonomia

How much energy we expend can be just as important as the type of exercise. In fact, exercise intolerance in dysautonomia is very real and many of its accompanying primary or comorbid conditions like MCAS or ME/CFS. Exercise intolerance means that an increase in activity can cause an increase in symptoms for an illness, most notably fatigue levels. Where the confusion comes in with this concept is that people assume that any exercise becomes problematic for someone with these conditions and that’s simply not true. What it does mean is that we have a lower threshold of tolerance than healthy people and we need to modify how we exercise.

20CEF342-4CF5-40EF-9447-3D5B31F3DA97-300x300For people with dysautonomia, this means avoiding exercise in an upright posture along with monitoring how much energy we expend. The first part of this equation is pretty easy to understand; we want to partake in exercise that can be done from a sitting or laying down position, such as recumbent biking, rowing, or swimming for our cardio. If we lift, we want to do so in a sitting position. Things like dance classes and barre should probably be eschewed for spin class, pilates, and yoga, while still avoiding certain positions. It’s all about being safe and not giving our intolerance to standing the opportunity to rear its ugly head.

Pacing for exercise intolerance is a bit trickier. No one can tell you where that wall is for you and the best thing is not to find it, but to strenuously avoid finding it, as it can take several days to recover from triggering your exercise intolerance. We all know what it is, because it’s that feeling that usually makes us say “Oh no! I think I overdid it!” as we feel the state of our health crumble like a cheap facade. But how to avoid it?

8 Tips for Pacing Yourself

  1. Forget the no pain no gain bull. That’s not for spoonies.
  2. Count exercise in your spoons. Your exercise is part of your health care and necessary to staying/becoming healthier. It should come first, but if you have something else to do in a day that’s going to take more spoons than you have, exchange it with your exercise to avoid triggering your intolerance.
  3. Start out at the appropriate level of exercise. Avoid straining your muscles. You DO NOT need to strain your muscles to build them.
  4. Do an appropriate number of reps. Even if it’s only 1 set of 10 or 3 sets of 5, you’re still getting the work in. Good for you!
  5. If you wake up already fatigued, hydrate and supplement with salt. Take a break or decrease the number of reps if rehydration doesn’t help.
  6. Keep in mind that upright exercise will always cost you more spoons, so if you exchange your 3 mile recumbent bike ride for a trip to a park to walk 2 miles, the walk to the park is going to cost more spoons.
  7. Keep a journal of your exercise to ensure you’re gradually increasing your exercise and offering yourself enough challenge without regularly triggering your exercise intolerance.
  8. Try not to take breaks longer than 1-2 days. Decrease workouts rather than cut them completely to avoid losing ground.

Since I was bedridden when I started out, I had to start out very slowly, using simple exercises that can be done in bed. I wasn’t just fighting exercise intolerance, I was fighting serious muscle deconditioning, which can contribute to the severity of dysautonomia and the level of exercise intolerance you may experience. The last thing you want to do when starting a new exercise program is trigger exercise intolerance. You want to start out gently, doing exercises you’re confident you can do at a number you’re sure won’t make you sore or wear you out.

Find a Physical Therapist to Help You

While I did this rehabilitation alone, it is probably better to go through an approved therapy program that’s arranged by the doctor caring for your dysautonomia. You really need someone who can direct your practice and ensure you’re not only performing exercise that’s safe for your condition(s), but also appropriate for your starting level of fitness to avoid any injury. While I’ve always been a bit of a do-it-yourselfer, I say this because ultimately I ended up in therapy later, attempting to correct all the weakness that remained because I was either not doing exercise to target those specific areas or I was doing them incorrectly and hurt myself. I could have saved myself months of pain and hassle had I just gone and requested the therapy in the first place.

It may be frustrating to start out so slow and you may be bored, but don’t worry. You’ll be amazed with how quickly your stamina increases and soon you’ll be able to take on more. The great thing about working within our own limitations is that those limitations become less constraining quite quickly. Before you know it, 10 minutes will become 15, 15 will become 20 and before you know it, you’ll be devoting a whole hour to ninety minutes a day exercising. Even if you can only last 5 minutes to start, you’re getting somewhere. But you can only get somewhere if you keep going.

No matter what level you’re starting at, it may be possible to work your way up to unmodified, upright exercise. This can be largely dependent on comorbid factors, but dysautonomia is not an incurable condition for everyone and while well controlled, some of us with it can lead almost normal lives, which includes normal exercise. For example, by the end of the previously mentioned study on exercise versus beta blockers, 10 participants could no longer be diagnosed with POTS at the end of the three month trial (Exercise).

Every Patient is Different

As someone with POTS as a secondary diagnosis to EDS and MCAS, I may always rely largely on my recumbent stationary bike for my cardio. However, I’m also able to incorporate occasional upright exercise as well, such as walking at parks, stair climbing, and light aerobic exercise. Not too shabby for a former occasional wheelchair user. Actually, it’s been over a year since I’ve pulled my wheelchair out for any reason, even attending museums, festivals, concerts, sporting events, malls and parks with nothing but my own two legs to carry me.

Like many, I use a combination of meds, exercise and diet to manage my dysautonomia. I enjoy fewer symptoms, greater stability of health and more freedom overall because I’m no longer worried about passing out in public every time I leave the house. Finally, exercise is a great way to feel more in control of my illnesses and in touch with my own body again.

Dysautonomia Exercise Pin
Pin me for quick reference!

 

Posted on 2 Comments

FasciaBlaster Resources – Help and Support 

Since Fasciablasting has been by far the most popular subject to hit Disability Depot The Zebra Pit, I wanted to take the time to share some additional resources for those interested in starting out on this journey toward better wellness.

Support from the Zebra Pit

To begin with, of course there’s our ever growing library of blasting resources here at the Zebra Pit:

Group Support

I’ve found it beneficial to have others like myself to take the journey with. There’s no end to the discoveries and inevitably you will have questions. That’s where tools like #askashley on twitter or support groups like the one I belong to on Facebook, which is dedicated specifically to people who fasciablast and have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome comes in.

If you qualify for the group, FasciaBlasting and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, you will be welcomed by its members and have access to some pretty ingenious hacks that make blasting a lot easier with EDS along with great support from members on any related topic. Just click the link above and request to join, then be sure to check your ‘other’ inbox for a message from the admin.

If you have anything other than EDS, you can join the Health Support for FasciaBlasting (Women Only) group on Facebook. Thousands of women belong to this group and there are many with spoonie conditions ranging from fibro and CRPS to lupus to MS to a variety of medical zebras.

If you have another condition, search for a group exclusive to your condition. You may well get lucky. If not, you could always start your own. Just ask me if you’d like some help or connections. I’d be happy to help you build membership and get started.

There’s also the official FasciaBlaster group on FB you can also join. There’s also one for lipedema sufferers and a group for men which come up if you search “fasciablaster” on Facebook.

I love being a part of the FB&EDS group because I learn a lot from the people in the group, even when I’m just reading through threads of past questions. People share things they’ve learned, links to specific sections of the Ashley Black’s blog, share things from her book, share little tricks or hacks they’ve learned to make it easier to deal with certain conditions that can hinder progress or require special accommodations, or just to celebrate little victories. It motivates me to keep going and helps me feel a part of something, especially when I don’t really want to hang out in other support groups because they’re bumming me out.

Ashley Black Guru Resources

Of course when first getting started, learning how to blast specific areas, developing a regimen or thst sort of thing, you can’t beat Ashley Black’s blog & tutorials. To save you a little time, here are some of the best links for people with EDS and Fibromyalgia:

  • FasciaBlaster 101 – is the place to get started. It contains everything you need to know to start blasting safely.
  • Pain and Fascia – explains fascia and it’s role in musculoskeletal health and pain management. Also contsins how-to videos to get you started.
  • The Migraine Relief Series – contains a complete regimen for migraine reluef including how-to videos
  • Fit Fascia Challenge – a week long schedule for a full body workout. It might be a bit much for some sufferers, while others can manage it. Yet others work their way up to this regimen in time
  • Fasciablaster by Condition – is a playlist I’ve put together  containing video tutorials that address specific conditions, such as fibromyalgia sensitivity, tendonitis in many joints, plantar fasciitis and much more.

Another great resource, is Ashley Black’s book, The Cellulite Myth, available on Amazon. I confess, I haven’t read it yet, but others in my group have and they recommend it.

wp-1491057626092.jpg

Finally, I think it’s important to understand what fascia is, how it works and functions to get the most out of your treatments. This article on fascia is a good place to start.

Stay posted for more to come on this subject, including a review of the faceblaster, some personal status updates and possibly  (if I can get up the courage) a tutorial or two of my own.
In the meantime, happy blasting!

Need a Blaster? Check out my FasciaBlaster Buying Guide.