Posted in Educational, Fibromyalgia

IT’S NOT ALWAYS EASY: COPING TIPS FROM PSYCHOLOGY – Which Wolf Are You Feeding?

“Which wolf are you feeding?” By guest blogger and Fibromyalgia London Group member, Dr. Rhonda Gilby, mother of two daughters with Fibromyalgia, and clinical psychologist for over 30 years, helping people cope with the various problems that they are experiencing. Rhonda has taught psychology courses at Western University (UWO) and its affiliates, worked with troubled children and provided psychological counselling to University students. Dr. Gilby recognizes that “it’s not always easy” and writes about how findings and ideas from the field of psychology can be applied to help everyone to cope better in their day-to-day lives.

“Which wolf are you feeding?”

Most people occasionally have thoughts that are unpleasant, worrisome or critical, and those with Fibromyalgia are certainly no exception, quite possibly experiencing even more of these thoughts than others. These thoughts, of course, make us feel bad. When such thoughts occur, despite knowing that they are not helpful, we may feel powerless to control them. There is a conflict between how those thoughts make us feel, and how we would like to be feeling.

This conflict is well-represented in the fable about two wolves. Although there is some question about the origins of this tale, it frequently has been referred to as a Native American legend. One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is negativity, it’s anger, sadness, stress, contempt, disgust, fear, embarrassment, guilt, shame and hate. The other is positivity. It’s joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and above all, love.”
The little boy thought about it for a while and asked his grandfather, ”Well which wolf wins?” And the grandfather answered, “The one you feed.”

The parable is really about where we focus our attention. It seems that, in general, people tend to spend more time focusing on negative experiences in life than focusing on what is good. In psychology, this is referred to as the “negativity bias”. It is considered to have evolved for a good reason—to keep us out of harm’s way. In our evolutionary past, our survival depended a lot more on our ability to recognize danger than on our ability to notice the positive. Not noticing a lion waiting in the grass could end your life. Not noticing a field of ripe, wild fruit that you are passing may just leave you hungry for a while longer.
According to clinical psychologist, Rick Hanson, negative stimuli produce more activity in the brain than do equally intense positive stimuli. We have become wired to pay more attention to negative information, and we perceive it more easily and more quickly. Apparently, the brain is good at learning from bad experiences but bad at learning from good experiences. So, many of our good experiences may feel good in the moment, without having any lasting value. “The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positives ones.”

Nowadays, having a constant negativity bias is no longer necessary for our survival, and, in fact, increases our stress levels and makes it more difficult for us to cope. Can we train our brains for more positivity? Can we start feeding the more positive wolf? Do we get a choice? According to the most recent neuroscientific evidence, the answer is “YES”. According to Hanson, who calls this “taking in the good”, there are things that we can do to begin to feed the good wolf. Hanson recommends the following three steps to overcome negativity bias:

  1. Look for good facts, and turn them into good experiences. For example, let yourself feel good if you get something done, or if someone is nice to you, or if you notice a positive feature about yourself.
  2. Take time (at least 20 to 30 seconds) to pay attention and enjoy good experiences. Don’t just let a positive experience quickly pass. Making positive sensations last longer, solidifies them in our long-term memory.
  3. Focus on and let yourself sense the feelings of those good experiences as they are sinking into you. Imagine that positivity spreading through your body, like a warm glow spreading within you. While you hold the good experience in your awareness, it can become hard-wired into your brain.
    According to Hanson, “Any single time you do this will make only a little difference. But over time those little differences will add up, gradually weaving positive experiences into the fabric of your brain and your self.”

I know that this is certainly not a quick fix, and that looking for the good” is not going to be the remedy for all of our problems. In fact, changing our focus can be harder than it sounds, and making a change in the way we look at our world can take a lot of mental work. But I also know that we don’t have to be at the mercy of a built-in negativity bias that really doesn’t help us anymore. Although we may be struggling with those nasty symptoms that Fibromyalgia has thrown at us, it can be well worth the effort to work to find and focus on those good experiences (e.g., time with our loved ones, a caring FM community, a sunny day or a delicious meal, to name just a few) that are also a part of our lives.
So take care, have an awesome day, and remember to feed the good wolf!

Dr. Rhonda Gilby is the mother of two daughters with Fibromyalgia, and has been a clinical psychologist for over 30 years, helping people cope with the various problems that they are experiencing.  She has taught psychology courses at Western University and its affiliates, worked with troubled children and provided psychological counselling to University students.  She recognizes that “it’s not always easy” and writes about how findings and ideas from the field of psychology can be applied to help everyone to cope better in their day-to-day lives. Contact/Connect: ngilby@rogers.com

Posted in Fibromyalgia

Much Ado About Muffins

I’ve rarely met anyone who doesn’t like the results of baking. They may not like to bake, and/or aren’t good at baking, but they still like the results of the baking. I don’t mean Martha Stewart baking, I mean, umm, less complicated. Those with Fibromyalgia (Fibromialgia), CFS, ME, CRPS, and other chronic pain conditions also love to ‘nom nom’ on baking, but often have special dietary requirements. Feel free to play with recipes to suit your needs. In a series of posts, we’re going to offer up very forgiving recipes, if you play fast and loose with the baking rules (as I and others do). As long as they taste great, who’s the wiser?

So bake someone happy…not just because the results of baking are usually yummy, it’s more than that. It’s giving of your time, your energy, your creativity, your talent and you’re saying to those who receive the baking – I think you’re worth it.

Much Ado About Muffins

Leanne, a Fibromyalgia London Group member who generously offers her home to host the Fibromyalgia London Cards and Company Afternoons also offered this yummy muffin recipe!

These laugh-filled card afternoons are twice a month, next ones are: February 10th and 24th – 1pm-3pm (members of FLG and caregivers welcome). Near St. Joe’s, with some parking in driveway and some free street parking. Also on plenty of bus routes: #1, #15, etc. Check LTC http://www.londontransit.ca/ for more info (Remember the January 1, 2020 fare increase). Also, City of London has an income-related bus pass subsidy http://www.london.ca/residents/social-services/discretionary-benefits/Pages/Subsidized-Transit.aspx – Email: darcyyada@gmail.com for info on cards, blog submissions, buses, bus passes and more! February 10th 1-3pm. February 24th 1-3pm.

And did I mention the snacks? While Leanne kindly supplies us w/ refreshments, more are always welcome! This Gluten-free (but not flavour-free) Carrot/Flaxseed muffin is drool-worthy and healthy (say what?!?).

Prep time (approx): 15 mins. Baking time: 20-30 mins.  

Ingredients

1 medium apple, peeled; 2 medium carrots, peeled; 1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour; 1 1/2 cups flax seed meal (you can use store-bought though many believe it lacks freshness, or grind your own); 1 cup brown sugar; 2 tsp baking soda; 2 tsp cinnamon; 1 tsp kosher salt; 2 large eggs, lightly beaten; 3/4 cup whole milk or unsweetened almond milk; 1 tsp vanilla extract; 1/4 cup whole flax seeds (for the crowning glory).

Preheat the oven to 350º. While it’s heating, in a food processor puree the apple and carrots (set aside).

Use large paper cups, silicone cups, or spray oil to avoid batter sticking to muffin bake ware .

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, flax seed meal, and cinnamon in a large bowl – mix well. Combine eggs, vanilla and milk in a smaller, separate bowl then slowly pour into dry ingredients, gently stirring until thoroughly combined then add apple and carrot purees. Do not over-mix.  

Using an ice cream scoop, measuring spoon, or small cup, divide the batter evenly (almost to the top as they are low-rise) between the 6 prepared muffin bake ware. On top of each muffin, sprinkle a few whole flax seeds.

Your oven should be preheated, place bake ware (on middle rack if possible), uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick/piece of uncooked pasta (gluten-free) once inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean or with bits of muffin crumbs on it (not soft, runny pieces). Let cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from bake ware.

Like most muffin recipes, these muffins will keep in an airtight container for 3 days or can be frozen for up to a month (like they’ll last that long, ha!).

How about it, dear readers, do you have any fabulous muffin recipes (and/or any other baking/cooking recipes) you’d like to share? Drop them in the comment box or a link to them in the comment box or email us: darcyyada@gmail.com (where you’ll find me, Donna Parker, the keeper of this blog and the one solely responsible for the silliness – laughter really is the best medicine – take as much as you want) and we’ll add it in upcoming blog posts!

Posted in Blog posts, Fibromyalgia, Guest Speaker

IT’S NOT ALWAYS EASY: COPING TIPS FROM PSYCHOLOGY

Dr. Rhonda Gilby is a blogger, member of Fibromyalgia London Group and the mother of two daughters with Fibromyalgia. Dr. Gilby has been a clinical psychologist for over 30 years, helping people cope with the various problems that they are experiencing. She has taught psychology courses at Western University and its affiliates, worked with troubled children, and provided psychological counselling to University students. Dr. Gilby recognizes that “it’s not always easy” and writes about how findings and ideas from the field of psychology can be applied to help everyone to cope better in their day-to-day lives. ngilby@rogers.com

Savouring the positive – where are you shining your flashlight?

Our lives are filled with many, many different experiences. At any given time, there can be many wonderful things going on in your life, at the same time as you are dealing with some “not-so-wonderful” things.  What do you focus on?

Imagine that you live in darkness, always holding a flashlight in your hand. Where do you shine that flashlight? How much of your time do you spend focusing on the negative, shining your flashlight into a dark corner where some unpleasant experiences or painful feelings reside, and how much of your time are you using your flashlight to search for and focus on the happier, more pleasurable things that are also happening for you right now.

Life can (and will) hit you with all kinds of challenges and disappointments. Nobody gets a perfectly smooth ride on their journey through life. But you do have some choice in how those setbacks will affect you. You can take control of your flashlight, and redirect its beam to the delightful things that are also around you, despite those challenges, and focus on the richness that your life also offers.

bumpyroad

Choose to savour the small pleasures that life offers – making a deliberate effort to notice and appreciate the positive aspects of life. Psychologists Fred Bryant and Joseph Veroff have explored the concept of savouring, noting that we sometimes we can experience positive feelings or experiences in our lives, and be too busy or too wrapped up in our negative emotions to pay much attention to them.

Happiness isn’t just about having the positive experiences, it’s also about noticing them, enjoying them, trying to prolong them, shining your flashlight on them. For example, rather than eating your morning muffin mindlessly, linger over it, appreciate the aroma, the sweetness or crunch, the blueberries as they burst in your mouth. 

blueberry muffin

Rather than just walking to get from A to B, notice the warmth of the sunshine on your face, feel the crispness of the air, or observe the beauty of the clean, white snow on a winter’s day.

Riverside walk on a snowy winter's day Stock Photo - 4218141

Instead of feeling like you really didn’t do anything tonight, even a quiet evening with family or friends can be savoured, for the comfort, calm, and feeling of care that it provides. If you make the effort, there is lots of positive in every life to focus on. You can savour a memory of a past experience, savour an experience as it is happening  or look forward to an anticipated enjoyable future experience.

Remember that good moments pass quickly, so make an effort to consciously appreciate them, and be careful about where you shine your flashlight.

Take care and be good to yourselves.

Dr. Rhonda Gilby, guest blogger, member of Fibromyalgia London Group. teacher, clinical psychologist for over 30 years, and the mother of two daughters with Fibromyalgia.  ngilby@rogers.com

Posted in Blog posts, Educational, Fibromyalgia, Getting social, Guest Speaker, Sharing Circle, Social events

Happy New Year 2020! What’s Next?

Happy New Year! Hard to believe it’s already 2020 (no vision jokes). A new year (and a leap year at that), a new decade, but what’s next? Sometimes when we’re in a Fibro flare, stressed out, and/or having a rough time, it’s hard to think, what’s next? So make plans anyway, make choices, don’t let the world make them for you.

Here at Fibromyalgia London Group we understand, the holidays can add extra stress (https://fibrolondongroup.ca/2019/12/15/12-unusual-ways-to-relieve-your-holiday-stress/) and post-holiday exhaustion is real…and don’t even get me started on what winter does to Fibro.

So come out to some (or all – with a $20 membership per year every single event, program, sharing circle, everything is no extra charge to you and a registered caregiver/supporter/loved one) of our programs, events, sharing circles, etc. – relax, de-stress, learn about resources and ways to cope with pain, exhaustion, anxiety. Also, you’ll meet folks who know what you’re going through. We don’t just say we get it. We get it.

Please note: Fibromyalgia London Group (FM/CFS/chronic pain) Saturday Sharing Circle sessions in the North end, North London Optimist Centre will now be bi-monthly (every second month, 6 times per year). As well, the FM/CFS Caregivers’ Support Group, led and facilitated by Rick Avdovich. Caregivers, supporters, and loved ones of persons living with FM or CFS have their own support circle, held Bi-monthly (every 2nd month/ 6x/year) at the same time our FM/CFS/CRPS/ME Sharing Circle meets.

Thursday Sharing Circle sessions will continue MONTHLY. So just as a reminder, there’s NO Sharing Circle January 4th, but join us at the North London Optimist Centre January 11th, 2020 for an educational opportunity…

LIVE BLOOD MICROSCOPY Saturday, January 11, 2020; 1-3pm North London Optimist Community Centre.

And Thursday January 16th for a Support/Sharing Circle. Free parking and on several London Transit routes, ie. #10 – check out http://www.londontransit.ca/plan-a-trip/routes-schedules/ for more details. Also, the City of London has an income-related bus pass http://www.london.ca/residents/social-services/discretionary-benefits/Pages/Subsidized-Transit.aspx Whichever way you arrive, we want you to thrive!

Thursday support sessions are still monthly, in January 2020 it’s Thursday January 16th, 2020 11am-12:30pm (doors open at 10:30am and Peer Leaders will be there to answer questions, sign up members, share resources or just to listen) – Earl Nichols Recreation Centre 799 Homeview Rd. 11am-12:30pm. Free parking and on several London Transit routes, ie. #10 – check out http://www.londontransit.ca/plan-a-trip/routes-schedules/ for more details. Also, the City of London has an income-related bus pass http://www.london.ca/residents/social-services/discretionary-benefits/Pages/Subsidized-Transit.aspx Whichever way you arrive, we want you to thrive!

Knit Happens: Therapeutic Knitting for all! Bi-weekly knitting program, 3rd Floor Board room London Public Library Central Branch (accessible to all). Please remember all FLG events are scent-free please. Instructor Janice Sumpton shows how knitting can help with chronic pain, or everyday stress, because Knit Happens! All are welcome! Open not only to Fibromyalgia London Group members but to the general public. New to knitting or an expert, come to learn or just for the company! Free 2hr parking (validate at front desk of LPL with library card) and on several London Transit routes, ie. #4, 6, 13, 90, and more – check out http://www.londontransit.ca/plan-a-trip/routes-schedules/ for more details. Also, the City of London has an income-related bus pass http://www.london.ca/residents/social-services/discretionary-benefits/Pages/Subsidized-Transit.aspx Whichever way you arrive, we want you to thrive! January 9th 1pm-2:30pm – bring your needles and yarn – we’re going to have a ball!

Cards and Company Monday Afternoons! January 13th & 27th, 2020, 1pm-3pm!!! Free for Fibromyalgia London Group members and a supporter/caregiver but snacks are always welcome!!! Free parking and on several London Transit routes, ie. #4, 6, 90, 13, 15 and more – check out http://www.londontransit.ca/plan-a-trip/routes-schedules/ for more details. Also, the City of London has an income-related bus pass http://www.london.ca/residents/social-services/discretionary-benefits/Pages/Subsidized-Transit.aspx Whichever was you arrive, we want you to thrive! We’re playing with a full deck (honest)!

Please read and keep checking back, to the homepage, https://fibrolondongroup.ca/ changes all the time with upcoming events. To the right of that page, under “What We’ve Been Up To” are blog posts about events, Fibromyalgia and other stuff. Also, and very important, please share this homepage https://fibrolondongroup.ca/ for the London Fibromyalgia Group (FLG) with family, friends, colleagues, medical professionals, clubs, groups and on especially social media – you never know when you’re going to help someone. Then please, submit…

ORIGINAL content (written by you) blog posts, memes, quotes, ideas, recipes, lyrics, personal experiences, etc. to: iwanttobelieve@rogers.com (you can use your first name, full name, pseudonym, whatever you feel comfortable with, in the blogging world, anything goes…). Here are a few examples of ORIGINAL blog posts, but the whole point of original is you do you!!!

“Chronic Suckage”, “Is #Fibromyalgia Still a Four Letter Word?” and “12 Unusual Ways To Relieve HolidayStress” by Guest Blogger, D. Parker https://yadadarcyyada.com also a member of Fibromyalgia London Group and a Peer Leader.

Keep checking https://fibrolondongroup.ca for more and more details. Even if no one else understands, we do. New Year, new you or are you enough already and just need some help to live your best life? Don’t wait for help to come to you, come to us for help. Fibromyalgia London Group
Tel: 519-453-3198 ~

Email: fmgroup.london@gmail.com 

~ Website: www.fibrolondongroup.ca

Happy New Year and hope to see you soon!

Posted in Fibromyalgia, Sharing Circle

Sharing Circle – Cause You’re Worth It

Please join us for Fibromyalgia London Group’s “Bye Bye 2019, Hello 2020!” (“Adieu to 2019 – Bonjour 2020!”) South/West Sharing Circle Session (we’ll share again and again in 2020)!!!

It’s our last sharing circle of 2019 – we’ll be back in January!!! But we know how difficult and stressful the holiday season can be. Christmas shopping, Christmas dinner, Christmas baking, Christmas decorating, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day. So much pressure!!!

There are high expectations during the holiday season even if you don’t celebrate, these are especially tough times for those with chronic illnesses. We get it. We live it. We’re here, in person, via phone, email, text, on social media. We understand. http://fibrolondongroup.ca/2019/12/15/12-unusual-ways-to-relieve-your-holiday-stress/

Sharing is voluntary, caring just happens naturally!

Meet us at: Earl Nichols Recreation Centre 799 Homeview Rd (near Southdale) in London, Ontario, Canada – Thursday December 19th, 2019 11am-12:30pm. Free parking! Near bus routes #10, #93, etc. http://www.londontransit.ca/ to plan your trip and remember, City of London now has a income-related monthly bus passes available http://www.london.ca/residents/social-services/discretionary-benefits/Pages/Subsidized-Transit.aspx#Eligibility). Doesn’t matter how you get there as long as you show up! Peer leaders are there by 10:30am to answer questions, do sign-ups, talk about resources, chat, listen, etc.

Contact Jacqueline at: Tel: 519-453-3198 or Email: fmgroup.london@gmail.com to register but if you forget or don’t remember (gee, none of us with chronic illness ever do that, wait, what was I talking about?) or feel up to stopping by, even for awhile, just drop in, we’re always happy to see you. Come for the sharing, stay for the caring!

Please keep checking here www.fibrolondongroup.ca for blog posts, quotes, poems, event listings, information, resources, etc. Also, “Follow Us” (here and on social media @fmlondongroup) and share posts on: Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, MeWe, Facebook, Mix, Reddit, Tumblr, Yum, etc. Leave a comment, get involved, be here for each other.

Fibromyalgia London Group (FLG) is a grassroots, community-based, volunteer-driven, self-help and wellness support group for London, St. Thomas and Middlesex County (and on the internet, the world! Hello world!).

Membership to Fibromyalgia London Group (FLG), also, CFS, ME, and all other chronic pain conditions is only $20/year w/ unlimited access to any or all events, activities, etc. for you and registered caregiver; or a $5 donation per event per person.

Supporting Ourselves By Helping Others.

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! ¡Felices Fiestas! Jie Ri Yu Kuai! Laethanta saoire sona! Happy Hanukkah! Joyous Kwanzaa! Yuletide Greetings! Joyeux Noël! Let it snow…somewhere else! Feliz Navidad! Seasons Greetings! Happy New Year Joy! Celebrate! Be merry! Shiawasena kyūjitsu! Boas Festas! Li holide eximnandi! Happy Christmas! Wishing you a latke fun this Hanukkah! Hau’oli Lanui! मेरी क्रिसमस ! Forhe Feiertage! Selamat Hari Raya! Joyeuses Fêtes! Prettige Feestdagen! Buone Feste! Trevlig Helg! Jingle All The Way! Happy Holidays from owl of us! Tis the Season! Warmest greetings! Happy Holidays, Mate! It doesn’t matter how you say it as long as it’s said with kindness.

Posted in Educational, Fibromyalgia, Getting social

To Knit or Not to Knit: Now That’s A Silly Question!!!

Fibromyalgia London Group (FLG) invites any member, support person, and/or member of the public to participate in a free (what a beautiful word) activity program, therapeutic knitting for those with pain and who want more purpose.

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Led by Janice Sumpton, Knitter Extraordinaire and Knitwear Designer with more than 50 years knitting experience. Living with chronic pain for more than 20 years, Janice found the rhythm and calming repetition of knitting very therapeutic in helping her cope with pain.

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This program is sponsored by our group, the Fibromyalgia London Group and offered in collaboration with the London Public Library (LPL), to support the needs of the FM/CFS/ME community in London, Ontario, Canada and area, as well as anyone who feel they will benefit from being a part of this new community-led program.

Join us Thursday December 12th, 2019 from 1-2:30pm (doors open until 3pm if you want to finish, rest, relax, chat, etc.) in the Boardroom, 3rd Floor (elevators available right across from the staircase), London Public Library – Central Branch in Citi Plaza (formerly the Galleria), Downtown London, Ontario, Canada. 

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FREE program (yes, free!), OPEN TO ALL AGES, but REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED – simply email mailto:fmgroup.london@gmail.com or phone 519-453-3198 to reserve your seat. 

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Anyone of any knitting skill level who is:

Interested in learning how to knit or about therapeutic knitting as a coping method for pain management…

Interested in swapping ideas on how to live everyday with pain and manage this pain…

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Looking to enjoy fun time with others who share similar interests, make friends, etc…

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Looking to give back to community by supporting local charities in need of donated knitwear (COMING SOON! Knit/Crochet for Donation to a Local Charity – We Will Provide Supplies!).

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Please join us (and tell your friends, family, neighbours, co-workers, children, siblings, Grandma, Grandpa, mailperson, doctors, Santa, Mrs. Claus, the elves, the reindeer (I bet they’d like to learn to knit themselves sweaters with their names so we’d all stop getting them confused, on Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Daryl Dixon? Well, tell everyone!). 

Don’t Know How To Knit? We’ll Teach You! Learn How Therapeutic Knitting Can Help You Cope with Pain. Come Meet for Fun and Crafty Conversations!

Yarn provided for beginners with Instructional Help (bring own 4mm or 4.5mm needles), or please, bring your own project!

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Free knitting program, free conversation, free 2-hour underground parking in Citi Plaza if you bring your parking ticket for validation at the Front Desk on the Main Floor with your Library Card.

Contact Jacqueline
Fibromyalgia London Group
Tel: 519-453-3198 ~ Email: fmgroup.london@gmail.com

~ Website: www.fibrolondongroup.ca

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Find Us @fmlondongroup on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

DISCLAIMER STATEMENT: Fibromyalgia London Group [FLG] was created to be a resource of pertinent information, education, and peer-led wellness support to all who attend our programs and events. While we may invite healthcare professionals, advocates, practitioners or representatives from community organizations to speak at our Group meetings and special public events, FLG does not endorse, support or recommend any specific service provider, treatment, product, theory or person.

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To Knit of Not Knit, that is the question? That’s a silly question. To knit and to teach others how to knit, that’s the answer.

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Please join us for our “Goodbye 2019, We’ll Pick up that Stitch in 2020!” Knitting class on Thursday December 12th, 2019 1pm until 2:30pm 3rd floor Boardroom, Central Branch, London Public Library (in Citi Plaza). Free to all!

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! ¡Felices Fiestas! Jie Ri Yu Kuai! Laethanta saoire sona! Happy Hanukkah! Joyous Kwanzaa! Yuletide Greetings! Joyeux Noël! Let it snow…somewhere else! Feliz Navidad! Seasons Greetings! Happy New Year Joy! Celebrate! Be merry! Shiawasena kyūjitsu! Boas Festas! Li holide eximnandi! Happy Christmas! Wishing you a latke fun this Hanukkah! Hau’oli Lanui! मेरी क्रिसमस ! Forhe Feiertage! Selamat Hari Raya! Joyeuses Fêtes! Prettige Feestdagen! Buone Feste! Trevlig Helg! Jingle All The Way! Happy Holidays from owl of us! Tis the Season! Warmest greetings! Happy Holidays, Mate! It doesn’t matter how you say it as long as it’s said with kindness.

Posted in Blog posts, Fibromyalgia

Is #Fibromyalgia Still a Four Letter Word?

5 years ago I wrote, “Fibromyalgia is a Four Letter Word” https://yadadarcyyada.com/2013/08/08/fibromyalgia-is-a-four-letter-word/, and now, 5 years later, I’ve updated it and I think, sadly, it’s still true, tell me what you think.

Guest blog by D. Parker, blogger at https://yadadarcyyada.com/ also a Fibromyalgia London Group member and Peer Leader.

This isn’t meant to be whiny (see how that goes…), or a ‘it can be fixed’, or whatever blog post. Just a few thoughts about why people think Fibromyalgia isn’t a real syndrome, that it’s just lazy, unmotivated people and mostly, why I don’t have answers.

Let’s begin at the end…I don’t have all the answers, maybe because I don’t sleep enough. Also, I’m not a million years old. In addition, I’m certainly not a super genius.

Oh, did I mention I don’t sleep enough?

People prefer to think people with disorders/syndromes such as Fibromyalgia are lazy, I dunno, maybe because they don’t want to accept that they could wake up one morning and have something like: Fibromyalgia/Fibromialgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, CRPS, ME, Lyme Disease and/or another chronic illness.

Instead of doing the whole “there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I” thing, too many people just decide that people with these illnesses/syndromes could do better if they only: weren’t so lazy, would exercise more, ate differently, got a better attitude, tried harder, did more, pushed themselves, pushed through, pushed harder…

It’s easier to believe that, I suppose, than believe someone who was full of energy, productive, happy, motivated, etc. can too quickly become a person: full of pain, fatigued (relentless insomnia and pain can tire you out a wee bit),

frustrated, sad (so many sadz),

depressed, anxious,

plagued with memory issues,

exhaustion, confusion…

have massive struggles to function, and so on.

Fibro becomes a joke, a stain, a dirty word because otherwise people would have to accept the reality that people get sick. Humans get sick. They get short-term illnesses, they get injuries that sometimes heal and sometimes, don’t, they get chronic illnesses, they get terminal illnesses, and some live with agony and sometimes, they die.

People often tell someone with cancer they should fight The Cancer, as though that will fix everything. Yes, poking a toothpick at a dragon works so well. Ever thought of how that makes people feel, when they’ve lost a loved one to cancer? Oh, so my loved one just didn’t fight hard enough, well, thanks, that makes me feel so much better.

The same goes for those who’ve lost a loved one to suicide. I’m sure they feel horrible enough without others implying their loved ones gave up, chose to leave, didn’t love them enough to stay, weren’t strong enough, or just didn’t fight hard enough. 

I don’t live in someone’s head so I can’t say if they tried, if they fought, or if they chose, but neither does anyone else, so no one is qualified to make these judgmental statements. No one. Live your own life and let other people live theirs.

Instead of mocking someone with an illness, try having empathy for them. Not sympathy or pity. Compassion. Kindness. I’m sure there are some bizarro individuals would prefer to be ill than well (but they have a whole other illness), but come on, does anyone, anyone at all truly, deep in their heart of hearts seriously believe that’s a majority?  Most people would choose to be well.

Most people would choose to have a full life, a life with a normal amount of pain and fatigue and other symptoms. Just like most people would choose to beat cancer. Hell, most people would choose not to get cancer at all. Most people would choose not to have a mental illness. If there was a choice involved.

People are slowly coming around to the belief that people who lead a homosexual lifestyle didn’t choose to be that way, it’s the way they are. Why is everyone is fixated on who loves whom…what the world needs now is more love, more fun, more kindness, more compassion, more empathy, more joy. https://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/07/03/how-to-be-good-to-one-another/ It has taken a long time and there are still haters (haters gonna hate) out there, but I bet many people are happy to see a light at the end of that rainbow.

I wonder when that day will come for people with chronic illnesses like Fibromyalgia, or people with mental health issues, or people with Autism, etc.  I wonder if or when people will see them, really see them, for who they really are:  your Mom, your child, your sister, your friend, your co-worker, your Dad, your teacher, your brother, your minister, your neighbour – just people.

Don’t judge people.

Have a little empathy.

Those people might be: interesting, fun, brilliant, a hope for the future, a good friend, or something more than a friend, someone to talk with, walk with, someone who inspires you, or but most of all, who gets you, but you’ll never know if you make judgements, make assumptions.

Don’t miss out!

Copyright D. Parker (aka Donna Parker/yadadarcyyada) 2013-2019. All opinions expressed are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Fibromyalgia London Group (FLG).


All members of Fibromyalgia London Group, please send me blog posts, book reviews (relevant to subject matter at hand), recipes, quotes, memes, gifs, lyrics, real life experiences, etc. so we can publish them in our blog. Be part of helping us help others. You can request first name only, full name, pseudonym, etc. for publishing. Send info and deets to: iwanttobelieve@rogers.com

Posted in Fibromyalgia, Getting social, Social events

Don’t Get Lost in the Shuffle!!!

How about an afternoon of cards and company? That’s happening Monday December 9th, 2019.

Don’t Get Lost in the Shuffle!

Looking for a bunch of laughs, friends and could-be friends, refreshments? Who wants all that and card games too? You do?

Then deal with your boredom by joining us at the monthly Fibromyalgia London Group (FLG) Games Afternoon hosted by the delightful Leanne. Whether you’re a card shark or just like to chat and laugh and snack, there’s something for everyone.

Don’t get lost in the shuffle, pop by Monday December 9th, 1-3pm and did I mention it’s free (that’s a real word) for FLG members and their caregivers/supporters, family, friends, etc.? I kid you not. But treats, snacks, chocolate, cookies, coffee, well, any yummies are always, always welcome!!! Always.

Contact Jacqueline at: Tel: 519-453-3198 ~ Email: fmgroup.london@gmail.com ~ for address and all the deets (ie. 2 hr free parking on the street, etc. and it’s near St. Joe’s so there are plenty of bus routes, #15, #6, #90, and more! Plan your trip http://www.londontransit.ca/plan-a-trip/routes-schedules/ . Also, City of London now has a bus pass subsidy http://www.london.ca/residents/social-services/discretionary-benefits/Pages/Subsidized-Transit.aspx which may help people with disabilities).

Keep visiting, following, sharing our Website: www.fibrolondongroup.ca – you don’t want to miss a thing.

Posted in Fibromyalgia, Uncategorized

Chronic Suckage

“Chronic Suckage” by Guest Blogger, D. Parker https://yadadarcyyada.com who is also a member of Fibromyalgia London Group and a Peer Leader.

Lazy. Crazy. Whiner. Hypochondriac. Attention-seeking. All in your head.   “Fibromyalgia is just another word for lazy.” yadadarcyyada.com/2013/08/31/fibromylagia-is-just-another-word-for-lazy/ 

And the classic, “But you don’t look sick”. Feel free to add more. I think I’ve heard them all…but you never know.

Yup, I got 99 Problems and Fibromyalgia (Fibromialgia) is all of them…or at least it makes any problem much much much much worse.

I won’t bore you with all the symptoms:

  • Extreme, endless fatigue (I’ve never heard, “everyone gets tired”…sigh).

  • Extreme, endless all-over-body-pain 24/7/365 (“everyone has pain, especially as they get older” – how do you presume to know my pain or anyone else’s pain but yours?).

  • Dry eyes/mouth.

  • Hair loss.

  • IBS (Oh joy, love nothing more than talking about my bowels to: doctors, family, friends, strangers, interns, readers…”What did you want to be when you grow up?” “Constipated.”).

  • Dizziness.

  • Clumsiness.

  • Nausea.

  • Depression (tough not to be depressed by all this).

  • Sleep issues (screw off Alpha waves, no one wants you here).

  • Mood disorders (maybe my many, many moods are just as ordered as they should be).

  • Headaches/migraines.

  • Restless leg syndrome.

  • Anxiety (pick a kind, any kind).

  • Tender points (misnomer, not tender, excruciating, but trigger points make sense).

  • Fibrofog (what was I saying?).

  • Memory and learning problems, like, aah, like, well, there’s Fibrofog (what was I saying?).

  • Scattered thoughts (dust in the wind, all my thoughts are dust in the wind).

  • Numbness.

  • Tingling (not the good kind).

  • Shakiness (not the good kind).

  • TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome).

  • Painful and frequent urination.

  • You may notice a pattern here, #Pain!

  • Sharp pain, stabbing pain, dull aching pain, burning pain, throbbing pain (Beavis and Butthead laugh for 5 minutes now about “throbbing”).

  • Extreme sensitivity to: light, noise, sounds, smells, temperatures, humidity, dryness, changes in the weather (especially extreme heat or cold, fun in Canada, eh).

  • Also, to tastes, textures (Princess and the Pea was written about someone with Fibromyalia, for sure).

  • Stiffness (not the fun kind).;

  • Especially morning stiffness (not the fun kind).

  • Let’s not forget Allodynia.

  • Itching (like, bugs-under-your-skin-when-jonesing-kind-of-itching, er, for chocolate, my drug of choice).

  • Waking up feeling like you’ve been run over by a truck or attacked by a Terminator or zombie (brains?) – We are The Walking Dead.

  • And don’t even get me started on surviving the Holidaze, er, holidays – Christmas, New Year’s Eve, birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving, Black Friday (it’s counted as a holiday now, right?), actually I can do CyberMonday, and they’re lined up to take me out for Valentine’s Day

I could go on and on (really), but you get the point.

It sucks.

Chronic suckage.

What can anyone do to try to help chronic suckage? 
  • Pills/medications (anti this, anti that, pro this, pro that, SSRIs, SNRIs, NSAIDs, PB&J – checking if you were still paying attention, lotions, notions, rubs, gels – not the fun kind – vitamins, supplements, opioids, snake oil, gargoyle oil, and on and on).

  • Exercise.

  • Natural remedies.

  • Injections.

  • Yoga.

  • Meditation.

  • Deep breathing (keep breathing).

  • Tai Chi (saved my life).

  • Change of diet (I do FODMAP, look it up, you’ll hate it).

  • Massage (no happy endings).

  • Physical therapy.

  • Rest/relaxation/Self-Care.

  • CBT, CBD, CBC, CBA, COD…

  • Trials.

  • Errors.

It’s all just fleeting moments of feeling almost human.

And if all wasn’t bad enough, many people assume this invisible disability is and let’s see if I have this right, a conspiracy wherein the medical profession has effectively implemented a fake syndrome just to cater to lazy people (wasn’t that nice of them?). Perfectly reasonable, it’s not as if doctors have anything better to do. Or have reputations and licenses to protect. Or have ethics. What exactly would their motivation be? Why make up an illness, aren’t there already enough? Cancer alone should keep them hopping.

There are many health issues that can not be found through standardized testing, for example: Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s, Autism, Lupus, ADD/ADHD, wheat or gluten ‘sensitivity’, acute back pain, as well as many mental health issues. So they don’t suffer, don’t feel – it’s all some magical conspiracy…

People like to mock. I get that. It’s become a past-time, even a job for some people, especially in the internet age. I also get those same people would want/expect doctors and people to believe them if they were ill, even if there was no standardized testing for their illness.

To the best of my knowledge, there’s no standardized testing for ignorance or stupidity yet either, but I’d buy stocks for that booming business.

I didn’t ask to be ill. Given the choice I’d be “normal”. I certainly didn’t ask to be mocked and harassed because I’m ill. Even if it was just ‘in my head’, shouldn’t anyone with a health issue be treated with dignity and respect? Maybe we need a standardized test for intolerance.

So how do I cope with ongoing agonizing pain, debilitating fatigue and all the other heaping piles of steaming sh*t that comes with Fibromyalgia aka chronic suckage? If you’re a reader of my blog you know, I think laughter is the best medicine. Laughing even if it hurts sometimes still makes me feel better. I go to a happy place like Psych or George Carlin, Seinfeld, Friends, The Office and more. Tons of laughter a day doesn’t keep the doctor away, but it gives me some quality of life.

For example, this was one of my Tweets, “When I see a thong in a store all I think is, how would I explain to #EMTs all my multiple injuries were caused by just trying on a thong. Huh. #ThatsHot #thongs“. @yadadarcyyada 

I love to share the laughter. If I can make someone smile, laugh, giggle, chortle, spew liquid from their nose, then hey, I feel better. Treatments, medications, family, friends and finding a community that gets you, that understands when you have to cancel plans (again)…

Or you can’t remember, ummm, can’t remember, er, huh…and the only good thing you can say about your day is you’re “above ground”, well, anyway.

Glad there are people around who understand, including but not limited to: the-words-are-not-enough-to-describe-how-wonderful-they-are-Fibromyalgia London Group (FLG) #FibromyalgiaLondonGroup #FLG, also for those with CFS, ME, chronic pain, etc. I’ve even tried to knit (What?!? Please note the word, “tried”).

Reunited with a fantastic friend from college (we’d lost touch when the dinosaurs died), and get this, we started going to the same Fibro group on the same day, from different cities. I don’t know what they call that, fate, destiny, providence, kismet, but I call it cool and lucky.

Finding ways to help myself by helping others.

I am so sure you can see my chocolate-covered fingerprints all over the group’s blog, fibrolondongroup.ca

And hey, we’re also on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram @fmlondongroup

The thing is, people are just people – no matter how rich or poor; sick (this is an equal opportunity destroyer) or well; all sizes, shapes and shades; known or unknown – you don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t give people a chance. Some will let you down, disappoint, hurt your brain, your heart, your body, but they’re oddly beneficial, they help us appreciate the good ones even more.

Get out there, in person, online, by phone, text, email, do stuff, I don’t know, play cards, smile, knit, donate (give what you can, including your time and talents), bowl, cuddle, talk, sign, sing, walk, dance, embrace your crapathy https://yadadarcyyada.com/2016/05/25/crapathy/

swim, skate, scuba (gate?), especially smile at children, jog, blog, snog (probably not at the same time unless you’re uber talented), ignore, don’t keep score it’s a bore, read, write, compose, doodle, paint, play, bike, hike, “Like”, bake (me a cake? https://yadadarcyyada.com/2016/09/16/you-had-me-at-cake/),

listen, learn, love, add to the world, be part of the solution, go out with friends, care, share, spend time with family, get to know people, smile some more (and more and more and more)!!!

Be kind, be thoughtful, be compassionate https://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/02/20/compassion-never-goes-out-of-style/

Consider others, let your mind soar. I can’t say you won’t ever be sorry, some folks are baffling, but on a whole, you’ll be better for it (and they will be too).

Not asking anyone to feel sorry for me (although compassion and empathy are always welcome), just a reminder that everyone has problems, 99 or less, 99 or more, just because we can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there…so don’t be one of those problems.

Originally published: https://yadadarcyyada.com/2019/11/22/99-problems-and-fibromyalgia-is-all-of-them/

Copyright D. Parker (aka Donna Parker/yadadarcyyada) 2019.

Posted in Fibromyalgia, Sharing Circle

Go Ahead, Make My Day…

Saturday December 7th, 2019 1pm- 2:30pm it’s our epic “Goodbye 2019” (Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a safe and Happy New Year’s Eve – we’ll be sharing again in 2020!) North/East London, Ontario, Canada Sharing Circle and separate Caregiver Support Group – Stronach Recreation Centre, 1221 Sandford St. N5V 2J8 (please note change of venue) on Saturday December 7th, 2019 1pm-2:30pm (doors open early and Peer Leaders are there to: chat, answer questions, help with resources, etc.).

You’re not alone, chronic pain and other symptoms make you feel like you’re alone (it lies!!!). Need to share? Want to listen? Want to be heard? By people who understand, then please join our caring Fibromyalgia/Fibromialgia, CFS, CRPS, ME, and all chronic pain Sharing Circle session with a separate sharing circle/support group for caregivers/supporters. etc. of those with Fibromylagia and other chronic pain – (when we say sharing, it’s voluntary, but you never know what you might learn) and you’ll get all this and more!

We’re here for each other!

So please, join us at the monthly Sharing Circle Session and Caregiver Support Group Meetup at the Stronach Recreation Centre, 1221 Sandford St. N5V 2J8 (please note change of venue) in London, Ontario, Canada on Saturday December 7th, 2019 1pm-2:30pm (peer leaders will be there by 12:30pm, come early, talk, connect, share, care, chat, etc.) for the Fibromyalgia and other chronic pain London Group Sharing Circle session and the separate Caregivers Sharing Circle Session for those who love and care for people with chronic pain.

To register contact, call Jacqueline at:
519-453-3198 or email:

fmgroup.london@gmail.com

Or if you and your loved one/caregiver/supporter/spouse/partner/friend/sibling/parent, etc. feel up to it that day or forget (Fibrofog never, ever, ever makes us forget anything…what was I saying?) and want to come anyway, all are welcome. We understand. Really.

What is $20 per year (yes, I said $20 per year which is like $1.66 a month and like a nickel a day, what do you get for a nickel?) and gives you PLUS a listed supporter/caregiver/loved one/spouse/friend/sibling/parent/partner, etc. unlimited access (yes, you read that correctly, unlimited, no restrictions, no caps, no limits ) to any OR ALL Fibromyalgia London Group (FLG) activities, Sharing Circles, special events, speakers, resources, get-togethers, websites, social media, etc.??? You may have already guessed, a membership/donation to FLG (Fibromyalgia London Group).

Yes, only $20/year. Still not sure? Come and visit, a $5 donation/person will let you see what we have to offer. Fill out an application and become a part of this volunteer-driven, self-help group today!

You can also find us, @fmlondongroup on: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter https://twitter.com/fmlondongroup

And https://www.facebook.com/fmlondongroup/ or look up @fmlondongroup

The holidays can be tough on people with Fibromyalgia, CFS, ME, CRPS, any chronic pain, so if you’re struggling, again, you’re not alone, feel free to contact us via: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, this website, call, email, we’re here!

Thank you. Hope to see you and that someone special who’s smart enough to love and care for someone with Fibromyalgia or other chronic pain condition at the Sharing Circle Session and Caregiver Support Group Meetup at the Stronach Recreation Centre, 1221 Sandford St. N5V 2J8 (please note change of venue) in London, Ontario, Canada – that’s this Saturday December 7th, 2019 1pm-2:30pm (peer leaders will be there by 12:30pm, come early, talk, connect, share, care, chat, etc.). And remember, despite what Fibromyalgia and/or other chronic pain makes you think, you are not alone.

Disclaimer: The Fibromyalgia London Group (FLG) was created to be a resource of pertinent information to those who attend our meetings, sharing circle sessions, and special events. While we invite medical and healthcare professionals, advocates, practitioners or representatives from community organizations to speak at our meetings and special events, FLG does not endorse, support or recommend any specific treatment, product, therapy or person. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by participants and group members do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, views, or official policies of the FLG.