By self-medicate, I mean, what I use to help me cope other than medication and therapies. So, as you know by now I am on different medications at different times of the day. I have painkillers, anti-convulsants, anti-sickness and ant-acids. There are a few other things that help me, help me to focus on something other than pain or any other symptom that I am feeling. These range from a Medipen to different music and hobbies. Obviously, everyone is different and different things will work for me and not for you and vice-versa, all of this is what helps me.
So, I use a Medipen. This is basically just an e-cigarette, that uses CBD oil instead of any tobacco or nicotine. The CBD oil doesn’t take all of my pain away, but it relaxes me enough that I can move around and function. It helps take the edge off of my pain for a little while. I’ve been using this since July/August and I have almost finished a cartridge and a half, which shows that I don’t use it too much. I usually use it around 6/7 times a week, about 5 puffs each time. The charge lasts pretty well too. I always have it in my bag if I’m out or in my pocket. Usually, I keep it downstairs, as I keep my medication next to my bed. I have found that it helps with the pain and stiffness first thing in the morning and last thing at night. It also helps when I have bouts of anxiety or panic.
I have a few different hobbies that help keep my mind off of things. At the moment, I like to sew. I’m currently making a pillowcase out of old pyjama bottoms, it sounds weird but I like to reuse things like that. I have two pillowcases made from old t-shirts; one a t-shirt from a concert I went to when I was 8/9 (so, of course, the shirt didn’t fit anymore) and the other from a t-shirt I got when I went to see Jersey Boys on stage for the first time and the shirt got small and I didn’t want to throw it away as it meant a lot to me. Re-using these kinds of things comes in really handy when it comes to making room in the wardrobe or needing new ideas for decorating.
Another hobby of mine right now is making photo albums. I love taking photographs and getting them printed. This year has been a pretty big year when it comes to photos. I have visited different countries, my sister went to her prom and turned 16, we have had various family get-togethers and birthdays. These are, of course, plenty of reason to take photographs and keeping them well is so important. Doing this repetitive action makes me really calm and also, I get to look at the wonderful photos over and over again, and I get to relive those memories.
Now this may sound weird but I love to organise cupboards (Yes, cupboards. Kitchen cupboards, wardrobes and even organise Cd and DVD collections.) I love it when everything is neat and alphabetized. For example, food cupboards, the tins have to all be facing forward. It seems a bit excessive but again the repetitive activity keeps me happy, and when I go back to the cupboard or go to look for something, I know exactly where to find it.
Films, TV, Music & Books!
Who doesn’t love a good film! They are great at letting you escape for a while.
I love so many different types of films, but my go to films when I’m feeling unwell are:
-Beauty and The Beast (The original. I wasn’t too keen on the remake.)
-Da Vinci Code or Angels and Demons
As you can tell I love Disney, especially Beauty and the Beast (I have the phone case, various pyjamas, different merchandise and I know every song off by heart…) Disney films just uplift me and make me feel so good, even at the age of 23, they are just so comforting and warm.
I love anything with Tom Hanks too. He is an amazing actor, The Da Vinci Code or the Toy Story trilogy has to be my favourites. Again, they are comforting, you just know that if a film has Tom Hanks in, it’s going to be a great film.
And I LOVE A MUSICAL! Which is probably where my love of Disney comes from. Jersey Boys is my all-time favourite though. I was brought up on the music by my maternal grandmother and she took me to see the stage show for the first time and of course, the love began.
I do love rom-coms and thrillers and comedies too, of course, but when I’m in pain, I tend to go back and revisit my old favourites.
Recently I started to binge watch FRIENDS as I’ve never seen the whole thing before (shocking, I know), and obviously, I love it! It’s going to be my new go-to boxset to binge when I’m unwell for a long time. Before FRIENDS, I would binge-watch Glee, which I absolutely love! Max and I started to watch The Walking Dead, which is also amazing! And obviously Game of Thrones has to feature on this list, its’ great, I don’t care what anyone says. Although, when I’m having a bad flare, I do prefer shows that have shorter episodes like FRIENDS, as I don’t have to concentrate as hard for a longer period of time. I have a list of things to watch when I have finished, like The Big Bang Theory, I always watched that on TV but then I stopped, so watching from the beginning will be great.
My taste in music is very, very varied depending on my mood. Some days, usually my good days, I will stick on a Disney playlist and sing along to every song, while doing a little pain-free dance. On the more painful and exhausting days, I have a larger selection of music, always a bit slower or older like Noah Guthrie or Frankie Valli. These are two of my favourite singers, the soul in their voices and the stories they tell are beautiful. But other go-to artists are:
*Alfie Boe & Michael Ball
* Gavin James and Craig Gallagher
*Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood…
I love so many different types of music, something with a good story behind it or meaningful lyrics. Most of my older music love comes from my grandmother when I was a child, so it’s like going back to that for me. Music is great, it lets you immerse yourself into something else for a little while and forget yourself.
Anyone that knows me well, knows I do not read that often, and if I do, I don’t finish the book or if I ever do, it takes me forever. But I do love reading when I can get into it. At the moment, I am reading Tess Holliday’s autobiography, which is about empowerment and not letting anything stop you from doing whatever you want to do. It’s amazing. Before that, the last book I finished was Inferno-Dan Brown.
ASMR & Meditation!
Now, some people think ASMR is weird, but its each to their own. I find it all very relaxing, the tingles make me feel sleepy, which is great when insomnia hits (which it often does lately). Meditation is also great if you have the time. It helps take the intensity of the pain away while I’m doing it. Finding the best ASMR or meditation n can be really long winded, but finding the best ones are so worth it.
Family & Friends!
This one is so obvious, but I love spending time with my friends and family. Even when it’s just sitting and talking or watching a movie. There isn’t anything better in my opinion.
In August, I turned 23 and the day of my birthday, my family spent the evening taking pictures, talking and eating food. The weekend after, Max and my sister, Aimee, arranged a surprise meal for me, along with my parents, cousin Tasha, her partner, my paternal grandmother and my close friends Tracey and Owen. I’m not a fancy person at all, so they surprised me with Pie & Mash (which is delicious by the way). I really enjoyed that day, as I got to spend time with some of the people that mean so much to me, we all had a laugh and I felt so good.
Aimee’s 16th was almost 2 weeks after my birthday and again, a huge reason to take pictures and spend much needed time with my loved ones. My Aunt and little cousin also came down to surprise Aimee, which was amazing for us all. Being around my cousin, who is 3, reminds me that everything is good. She isn’t scared of anything. My Aunt, one of the strongest women I know, she reminds me that it doesn’t matter what goes on in life, we are just human. Lots of our family and close family friends were at the party, it was wonderful to see everyone together, even just for a short time. (Needless to say, the next day I was in pain.)
I spend a lot of time with my Mum, Aimee, Max and Tasha at the moment, as the rest of my family and close friends live further away but I do talk to them almost every day. The support I get from them is beyond words. Although they cannot fully understand what I am going through daily, they try their best to sympathise with me and do everything they can. I love having long and meaningful conversations with my family, they always help convey the way we feel and what we need help with.
At the moment, while my condition is being a bit, crazy, my favourite thing to do, is just to see all of my loved ones happy. My parents, Nan, Aunt and cousin, Tasha and her partner, Aimee and her partner and of course Max.
And if all else fails, SLEEP!
Sleep is always the best answer when you can get it. Sleep takes the pain away and makes forget everything for a while.