Category Archives: #health

“I don’t want my pain and struggle to make me a victim. I want my battle to make me someone else’s hero”

I’m on the one month Netflix trial and I’ve binge watched everything that caught my attention. One of the best things I saw it was the documentary about Lady Gaga called “Five Foot Two”. I can’t call myself a fan of this singer, I only like some of her songs and think she’s a charismatic performer. But I really loved this Netflix documentary and I want to thank Lady Gaga for shining spotlight on chronic pain, hoping that it will raise awareness about this problem. Invisible illness is not invisible to the sufferer and the only thing worse than pain is not being believed by family, friends or even doctors, who think it’s stress, or all in your head or that you’re faking it looking for attention.

Lady Gaga reveals that she’s fighting pain that stems from a broken hip suffered on the 2013 tour. There’s a part of the documentary that shows her on the couch in tears, because her right side of the body is in a spasms and that her face hurts.

She reveals that when she feel the adrenaline from her fans, she can go, even if it doesn’t mean she’s not in pain. She shows the drugs she takes to control pain , the treatments she gets to ease it, the doctors she visits to find a permanent solution and it’s an incredible discovery for those who, like me, are used to see her full of energy, singing and dancing on a stage.

Honestly, chronic pain and invisible illness can be as limiting as any other disability and the fact that others can’t see them, doesn’t make them disappear. They’re fucking real!

So if you have Netflix, I really recommend “Gaga: five foot two” even if you’re not a fan of Lady Gaga. It also shows many her aspects of celebrities’ life as if that sometimes being reach and popular means also being alone, because bringing along a relationship may be hard for the lack of privacy.

Due to her pain, Lady Gaga had to postpone her Johanne tour and I read online a lot of encouraging and supportive messages from other celebrities and from her fans. Good for her: these are things that help, along to the right meds. I loved how she pointed out that she’s lucky because she has the money to get the right and the best cures, unfortunately many of the treatments that help with chronic pain are meant to be paid by the patient.

I wish I had the financial possibility to cure myself, I wish I had more support and not only from my friends and above all I wish I had half of Lady Gaga’s spirit and energy to face chronic pain and what it brings.

If I continue to define myself by what I can’t do any more or by what others do, I will destroy my self.

TRACK OF THE DAY: The Cure- Lady Gaga

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“When it rains, look for rainbows;when it’s dark, look for stars”

Many negative things happened. Climate disasters and war threatens, my city affected by a flood that caused nine deaths and an incalculable amount of damages and, of course, personal problems. I’m at one point that even the sudden death of both the heathen and the wash machine, become the stick that broke the back of the camel, where the camel is my depressed self.

Let’s be honest: popular, inspiring quotes, like the one I wrote as a title, are useful until one point. If something bad happens, it’s perfectly fine to acknowledge that it’s a negative thing and to feel sad about it. No shame if you can’t see the bright side every time.

It is also said that attitude is everything and that’s could be true in some ways (I’m witnessing the amazing recover of a friend of mine who defeated tongue cancer and despite a long and complex surgery, she’s back to her normal life). Sometimes a positive attitude, looking for the good in every situation, being a fighter, is not enough, because there are things that are out of our control. I’m learning not to stress over them too much, but it’s very hard.

And here it comes my personal contribution to this topic: if it’s true that it isn’t the load that’s going to break us down, but it’s how we carry that load that is most important, I want to add that it’s even more important WHO helps you to carry that load.

Surround yourself by people who believe what you say, who are able to put themselves in your shoes, who are supportive without being too indulgent, who can give you a shook without being rude. As I said many times, I’m lucky to have it all. My lovely precious friend from the other side of the pond, proposed me a different kind of the gad game: every day I must send him a picture or telling him something that made me happy or just made me smile. Some days it’s hard, but so far I’ve always completed my task even if the tentation to use JD screens is often there. Is it a fault that he plays a bigger part of my happiness?

TRACK OF THE DAY: Shake it out – Florence + The Machine

 

“Anorexia isn’t about being fat, it’s about having fat” Caroline Kettlewell

Yesterday I saw “To the Bone” and it triggered so many thoughts, that in this post, I have to separate the review of the film from my personal life.

The film is about Ellen, a 20 years old girl who suffers anorexia and after failing several recovery programs, is forced to join the unconventional Dr Beckham’s inpatient program. She moves into the house where there are already five other female patients, each one with her story and secrets and Luke, a dancer who’s recovering both from a knee injury and anorexia. Ellen hardly manages to stick to the program and when some events destabilize her, she runs away. I don’t want to reveal anything more (I hate when I find huge spoilers in the plot resume), but I liked the ending.

Both the director Marti Noxon and the main actress Lily Collins have experienced anorexia (Collins has even written about her own experience with disordered eating in her novel “Unfliltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me” and that’s a good  feather in the cap. The film has been criticized because according to people, it glamourises eating disorders, but I didn’t have this impression, I found it honest. The character of Megan (a pregnant woman trying to gain weight for her child) was very effective: it shows that neither the love for an unborn child can save you from anorexia. No matter how much you’re loved, successful, talented you are: nothing is strong enough against eating disorders when they have deep roots in you; I’m not talking about the girl who doesn’t eat because she wants to me skinny, she can be saved, an eating disorder is more than this, it’s trying to kill yourself in an indirect way.

The film has been accused to show in details the tricks to avoid eating; I think that’s ridiculous. If you’re determined not to eat you don’t need a fictional story to tell you how to: there’s a lot of pro-ana websites and dedicated chats where girls shows their bones and support each other on this road to Hell, exchanging suggestion and products as laxatives. Looking up to my personal experience I didn’t need any person or film or anything else, I knew what to do. I drank vinegar to defeat hunger, I cut food in very small pieces and spread it all over the plate, I faked cleaning my mouth to spit food in the napkin. And I starved myself a lot.

If I have to find a negative thing about “To the Bone”, well, I didn’t appreciate that the viewer gets hugely distracted by a romantic sub-plot, I’d rather preferred to know better the personal history of Ellen’s inmates.

I’m not proud of my past and even if I seem over anorexia because I regularly eat, I still have that kind of mindset: I fat shame myself, I’m terrified of weight gain and I still suffer of body dysmorphic disorder. That is I perceive myself fat even if people see me skinny. Of course this is another battle I have to fight alone: my family trivializes it as if it was easy to resolve this distortion by simply “getting over it”.

Anorexia fucked up my stomach, my teeth and my heart (because when your body doesn’t have no more fat to burn, it attacks muscles and, as you know, heart is a muscle) and I wish I knew that what I was doing would have affected future me.

I’m still struggling with this problem, so I have no valid suggestion, the only thing that works for me is thinking “what if a person I love has this problem” or “may my mindset influence someone I care for?”. You probably don’t want your daughters or sisters grow up thinking that they’re physically inadequate, so do for them, try to love yourself or at least try not to body shame in front of them. Maybe this could be the right way, maybe.

TRACKF THE DAY: Ana’s Song- Silverchair

 

“What doesn’t kill you makes you wish you were dead” BMTH

So, another negative thing happened to me, one of those I couldn’t predict or control and the first inevitable question has been: “Why do bad things keep happening to me?” and after venting with my irreplaceable friends, I tried to react. Nothing is working at the moment, here’s how I debunked every possible solution given to this question.

  • Even in the worst, there’s some good waiting for you. I tried to list down what’s good and what’s wrong in my life, I tried to ignore that the negative list is way longer and easier to be filled, but honestly, the glad game didn’t work. Because bad things are still there, unsolved, no matter how many things I’m grateful for are written in the other column.
  • Write down your history, analyse it, once you find the wrong patterns, you can begin to change your life. I could write an entire book, the problem still is: I have health problems who lead me to mental illness and don’t allow to have a proper job in order to earn the money I need to cure myself and get rid of an abusive relationship. The picture i very clear, how can I change the colour palette? Next.
  • Bad things happen to everyone. That’s the polite version of the sentence “others have it worse”. Given that it would be sadistic to feel better thinking about to those who are having a worse time, it doesn’t change the fact I’m in pain. Or doesn’t solve my problems, it may only help me to develop a positive attitude or to be more concerned about others.
  • You are responsible of everything that it’s showing up in your life, flip your way of thinking and it’s going to get better. This is bullshit, well, mostly. It could work when you’re griefing for the end of a relationship, or because what happens depends on your bad habits. You’re entitled to change your life and a positive mindset will be surely helpful. But this doesn’t work when you’re given to diseases, no way. I could face them better, but I won’t heal. I could be the best fighter and I can assure you I’m not sitting down here all day being a cry baby, but things only get worse.

There are things that can’t be changed, only faced, but I’m tired of fighting, really. Why me? And don’t tell me that life (or God, it depends on your belief) is giving me burdens I can bear, because I’m not that strong, really.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Nobody can save me – Linkin Park

“If it wasn’t for music I’d be dead” Chester Bennington

I wish music was enough. Another one gone too soon.

I can’t call myself a real fan of Linkin Park, I just loved their songs and be grateful to them because they introduced me to nu metal; then I started listening to Korn and POD and many others. I have a playlist on Spotify with the most meaningful songs of my life, among the many beautiful ones of Linkin Park, I chose “Crawling” because it has always touched me emotionally. How many times I’ve listened to it, curled up in my bed, crying. I added another one today, from the band’s last album, that is “One more light”; I find it devastating, all the lyrics of last album are shattering if carefully listened after Chester’s passing.

“Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do”

Goosebumps.

Many things have been written about Chester Bennington, the most heartfelt came from fans and colleagues, personally JD’s glistening eyes while talking about how much his songs influenced him and inspired him to make music, were more meaningful than a billion of empty words.

Media seized the moment to talk about mental illness, depression and how it’s important to ask for help. For sure: opening up to someone, therapy and meds works, but let me be brutally sincere: not all depressions can be cured. Not if you’re a grown up person who realised the real entity of their problem, if you’re trapped in a dark tunnel with no exit. Looking for help may help if you’re a young person who can still change their life, not if you’re Chester or Chris or someone like me. I know that depression will be on my side, I have good days, even excellent moments, but I know she’s always with me, ready to devour my sanity when I feel sick, hopeless, ignored or simply down.

Another thing. A real depressed person barely shows it or talk about it: look at Chester’s pics on his Twitter, read what he said about his new album or about his life (“I have such a lust for life now, such a positive outlook” he said). He looks happy and passionate, he loved his family, job and fans.

I’m wondering what Chester was thinking when he wrote his farewell letter to his friend Chris Cornwell, if the sentence “I pray you find peace in the next life” was something he hoped for himself.

“We don’t know how strong we are until being strong is the only choice we have”

Breast cancer is a devastating experience for a woman, she faces death and of course her first desire is to beat that monster. She also sees her body changing, she may lose her hair or go through a mastectomy and when the fight is over, her wish is to return quickly to her old life, to set a “new normal”. The thing I’ve often heard from cancer survivors is that they wanted to feel a whole again, but how is it possible when the scars remind them of what happened? Moreover, many of them got their nipples removed, so when they look at themselves in the mirror, they see a sort of alien.

Many hospitals offer a rudimentary tattoo and nipple re-pigmentation, but women should know that there are better options and that they come from those tattoo artists who practice a 3D technique. This makes inked nipples looking very realistic which, of course, helps women to regain self esteem.

Unfortunately many artists ask an incredible amount of money for that, something like an average price between 400 and 800$ per nipple (these are American prices, but here in Europe they aren’t cheaper at all). It’s a madness: why do you have to further charge a woman who got through a hard time of her life? There are several associations that help financially women, but I think it’s humiliating anyway.

Now here it comes the good news: there’s an American artist named Mark Corliss who do that for free, who tattoes  stunning realistic 3D nipples getting back nothing but gratitude. This is amazing! It all started while he was covering with tattoed flowers some surgery scars and the costumer asked him to ink her nipples. He later found out how much other artist asked for that kind of work and decided to do that for free.

Other parlours should follow his example, I don’t say they all should do that for free, but definitely at a reduced rate.

Mark said: “The world needs some good right now, so I think it’s a good time to spread the word”, so, please, help him to share this, so it can go viral.

Mark Corliss works in Cape Cod Massachusetts. Visit his Instagram profile here https://www.instagram.com/mark_corliss_tattoo/ or at http://www.spiltmilktattoo.com for more info.

Please tell me if there are other artists who give cancer survivors 3D nipple tattoes without asking them money: I’ll be happy to add them to this post. Thank you.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Don’t Stop Believing – Journey

 

“It’s a recession when your neighbour loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose your own” H.S. Truman

Let’s be honest, sentences like “money doesn’t count” are sensible when you have enough of it to live and you don’t have to struggle to pay bills or say no to everything you like because you can’t afford it. Of course: family and friends are more important than money, I always say that I’m a millionaire if I look at the friends I have, but even if they’re beyond important with their support and love, it doesn’t bring food on my table.

My life was already bad due to health, now it’s going to get worse, because in two years my family will lose its fix income and all my ideas of earning money working from home, crashed against stupid Italian internal revenue system, according to which you need a VAT for everything and have to pay a fix tax even if you don’t earn nothing. (I still doing researches about home based jobs because I need something I can manage  according to bad and good health days).

In the blink of an eye all the things I’ve built, planned, worked hard for, are going to disappear due to economical interests that thinks that a factory that is not productive enough, has to been shut down, no matter how many family this will affect.

Pope Francis recently said that closing factories and businesses and taking work (and dignity) away from men and women is a grave sin. If there’s a life after that, they will probably pay for that, but at the moment we are those who are having a living Hell on Earth. Words are uplifting, but aren’t enough.

The sad thing is that I sacrificed my happiness, dignity and self esteem for stability. I chose an abusive but stable relationship over a happier, but uncertain one. And now? Now all is gone. I’m starting having anxiety attacks and depression is stronger than ever. I tried, but never be able to commit suicide because of my loving one, at the moment, the only thing that stops me is the fear to fail, believe me, killing yourself is not as easy as you think and there’s a lot of things that can go wrong.

I wrote these last lines not because I’m an attention whore who needs pity and nice words, it’s a self reminding of how strong I am. Next post will be different and more useful, I promise: I have so many things to say and I will run this blog until I can afford internet connection.

I would say to those who lost their job to stay strong, to use this experience to start a new life, to be positive, but these are words that you can find on life coaches blogs. People who have money and don’t have to look into their children eyes telling them “I’m sorry, we can’t buy this”. I’m only a broken creature with no magic spell who’s trying to see the light even in the darkest times. Someone wrote that I’m a fighter through the fire: I should wear off my cape of self commiseration and take my sword.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Stressed out- Twenty one Pilots