Working

I feel like I am going to work everyday lately. Though I don’t get paid, I want to make my website and blogs available to those who need to hear my message. Who knows, I may be the only one who needs this and that is okay. First and foremost, I will always write for me. If others read my work that is fantastic.

Working has made me feel better about myself. My house may fall apart around me, but I feel accomplished. I miss going to work, but I cannot drive myself with Meniere’s and Migraines that are so unpredictable that I wouldn’t be able to be a good employee. Writing at home takes the stress out of it. I am not under any pressure to complete anything. Since I have no payoff, and no one to let down, I can work at my own pace.

If I need to rest, it doesn’t matter if I take an afternoon nap or indeed if I stay there until the next morning. Such as the life of living with a chronic debilitating disease. Yes, this does happen to me.

Getting ready for a nap, while we were camping, because dizziness and migraines wouldn’t leave me alone.

As I sit here writing this, waves of dizziness flow through my head. It isn’t easy to describe it, but it’s like I get dizzy in the back of my head and it moves toward the front on my head. It’s brief, annoying and makes me glad I am sitting down. I get these and mini spins too frequently for comfort. Oh, and I’ve had 3 drop attacks in 2 weeks. My drop attacks, I get slammed backwards. It is unsettling and makes me not want to be out by myself.

So, here I am working. I did manage to put some chicken in the crockpot for dinner. Now, to figure what to go with it. It’s unhealthy, but I would just eat the meat and no vegetables, but I am cooking for others, so I guess I will get something together.

I have enjoyed working on my website and blog. What will I do when I no longer need to work on them? When I don’t have any more ideas? I already repeat myself too much, but I guess maybe if I say it different it’ll be okay.

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

I Remember

Memorial Flags for those lost in war.

I remember watching as one of the morning shows showed footage of the first plane, before going live.

I remember watching in horror as the second plane hit the other tower.

I remember crying for all the lost lives.

I remember the fear of more attacks.

I remember silent skies.

I remember waking up to see if something else had happened.

I remember somber faces at work.

I remember only news on tv for days.

I remember the strength of Americans.

I remember rallying behind the president.

I remember unity.

I remember…

I am an American!

United we stand, divided we fall.

~Rita L. Smith

Why Me?

This was a good day!

My tinnitus sounds like cicadas. Days like today when both ears scream loudly and the mini spins are frequent are difficult. I almost wish for the full on attack. But I answer the why me question with why not me? I am stronger because of this disease. I enjoy life more because of it. I live for the good days and there are good days and some so-so days that I can push through. Days like today I rest.

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Sports

It’s football season for my husband. I’ll be the first to admit, I am not a football fan. My husband is though. So, Sunday’s are reserved for Tennessee Titan football.

Go Astros! In Houston at Minute Maid Park before the game.

If you ask me it’s still baseball season. I love baseball. Whether watching the Houston Astros or the Las Vegas Aviators, I prefer baseball.

Maybe because I grew up watching or playing baseball. I also like basketball, but Ralph isn’t that into it.

Hockey season is getting ready to begin. Though I was never a hockey fan, the Vegas Golden Nights changed that. Go Knights Go!

Watching Hockey at Redrock.

Do you watch sports? What is your favorite? Or are you like the pre-Ralph me and don’t pay attention to any sports?

I hope you are spin free.

Love, Peace And Light! Rita

Metta. Always

I am going to be writing about what helped me to become a more positive person. These techniques make it possible for me to enjoy living my life. To get out from the comfort of my own home to the outside world. Metta means loving, kindness and directing well wishes to others.

When you have a debilitating, chronic illness like Ménière’s, you never know when an attack will happen. At least I don’t. I cannot rely on signs that others get before an attack like ear fullness, louder tinnitus, etc.

I get those things without getting a full blown vertigo attack. Quite possibly anxiety triggers attacks in people when they get those symptoms.

I have learned techniques to keep anxiety at bay. The most important one is meditation. I am lucky that dear friends of mine taught meditation. Unfortunately, I moved across the country. Fortunately, I carry their teachings with me.

I found this awesome YouTube video for beginners, Beginners Guide to Meditation, part2 and part 3. These three short videos are a great place to start your meditation practice.

Once you become more comfortable meditating, you can find a position you like to meditate in. I prefer lying down, but I too started with the seated position. Learning to meditate in different positions helps you to translate it into real life.

One of my yogis related practicing meditation while standing in line at a bank. This is good practice as it allows you to relax in a noisy setting. Taking you out of the hustle and bustle and putting you in the moment. I am not to this point in my practice.

Meditation is the Medication

Meditating helps me to relax my body and my mind. I usually do it first thing in the morning before beginning my day. This sets me up to be more peaceful and productive throughout the day.

Which in turn allows for a happier me. It didn’t happen overnight. It took practice and mindfulness to become happier with me.

Replacing negative self image thoughts with positive ones, indeed any negative thoughts with positive ones, helps get me closer to the person I want to be.

I still backslide, especially when I listen to others who aren’t enlightened. Or even my own negativity can cause me to backslide. Meditation helps me start out with peacefulness and good will to all.

I hope this article helped and that you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Depression

One of the first symptoms people with chronic illnesses often get is Depression. Depression is common. More common than most people know. It’s not always a constant sense of hopelessness nor that deep despair. If it is then you have major depression or clinical depression and what I write might not help without medical care as well.

Blue Sky Day and Balloons at Southern Hills Hospital

Sometimes I don’t even recognize that I am in a depression, until I am fully in one. Some signs that I need to be more aware of for me are moodiness, an over or under reaction to situations, sleeping too much and not feeling rested or not sleeping much at all, and finally not feeling the joy of living. If you know me that should be a big indicator that all is not well in My Crazy Life.

Some of the types of depression:

  1. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
  2. Persistent Depressive Disorder or Dysthymia
  3. Bipolar Disorder
  4. Postpartum Depression
  5. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
  6. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
  7. Atypical Depression
  8. Bipolar Depression

If you have depression like me… It comes and goes. I think it’s Persistent Depressive Disorder or Atypical Depression, though technically I have been diagnosed with Clinical Depression. Mine is manageable most of the time. When it’s not I take anti-depressants. Many people get depression from situations or it might be a chemical imbalance in your brain.

I can generally work my way out a depression cycle by keeping busy. Meditation and Relaxation are effective tools that work for me in my continued wellness. In the past when I have not been able to get the fog to lift, I have sought medical attention and asked for medication. Well, the first time my PCP told me to take it.

Though I didn’t want to… He said, “Now Rita, if you came to me with a sinus infection and I told you that medication would make you better. Would you take it?” I nodded. “Well, I am telling you to take this and it will make you feel better.

So, I did. You know what the fog that I had been living in, lifted. I didn’t realize until that moment how much depression affected my view of the world. Colors were more vibrant without the depression to cover them up. I guess what I am saying is do whatever you have to… To put the color back into your life. That is why I love blue sky days.

It’s not always easy digging myself from the abyss, but it can be done. With a little bit of help at times (sometimes a kick in the pants) and mindfulness, I am able to get myself out of depression. Now I see the blue skies… I enjoy hearing the sounds of nature… I enjoy living… I make myself get up daily. I meditate, eat breakfast and do something I enjoy. I get out of the house when I can. That’s not always easy with dizziness. I go on trips and I love my life. Sometimes, it’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.

I hope you have a blue sky day and are spin free.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Fremont Street

Have you been on Fremont Street? I remember cruising down Fremont street when I was a kid to gawk at casinos like The Golden Nugget and Four Queens. Today it’s closed to traffic and is host to one of a kind experiences. Bright lights, music, performers, nearly naked people add to the ambiance.

I snapped this as we waited to cross 4th Street. The overhead screen, plays light shows throughout the evening. When the free shows begin they play the concert overhead as well as on one of the stages.

Friday night we went to see The Wallflowers. A friend got us VIP passes so, we were closer to the stage.

This stage is right outside The D‘S doors. Four Queens is the bright, shiny one on the other side of the stage.

 Before The Wallflowers, there were dancers on the stage. Like the one in this picture.

At 100 feet Longbar at The D deserves a mention. The bartenders are fabulous. If you play your drinks are comped, but don’t forget to tip the bartenders, they work very hard to serve you.

I love Fremont Street, but rarely go, because my husband hates going downtown or to the strip, so I enjoy it when we make it there.

If you come to Vegas in the summertime checkout The Fremont Street Experience. Maybe one of your favorite bands will be playing. Besides The Wallflowers, I saw Melissa Etheridge and several others for free. You just have to endure the summer heat.

I love living in Vegas. There is so much to do and see.

I hope you’re spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

It’s Time to Shine

Peacock Freehanded by me from Let’s Make Art tutorial.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself. It’s time for you to get up and do something for you! What makes you happy, gives you satisfaction?

It’s time to live your life, instead of watching it pass you by. You don’t have to leave your house to feel satisfied. I painted that peacock from the comfort of my own home.

Start slowly, then build up to something big… Regain your confidence and then spread your tail feathers and shine.

I never could have imagined traveling to Ireland. It was harder to imagine myself taking an overseas flight by myself. Yet I did. I had to after losing my passport.

Me at the Calgary Airport ready to head home,

My fear of having an attack was overshadowed by my fear of getting lost. I had everything laid out to ensure that didn’t happen. Overcoming my fear wasn’t easy, but I did it. You can too!

Just take baby steps. Do one thing you enjoy. I remember making the call to join The Y-City Writers. It was hard to get up my courage. Fortunately, there was a meeting that night, so I didn’t have time to chicken out.

This is how I reintroduced myself to living my life. I wrote stories and decided I wanted to improve my craft… I made myself leave the safety of my home and re-entered the world of the living. I never looked back.

It’s okay to take someone along for the ride to your re-entry. Life is better with a partner. If you don’t have a friend, you might need to do what I did with the Y-City Writers, but I made friends then. Valuable friendships that I will carry for the rest of my life.

I want that for you. All the things I do carry me through the bad days. Let your good days guide you.

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Be Happy

Being happy comes from within. Relying on outside influences is superficial. Sure you feel happy for the moment, but you need to feel that contentment all the time, especially if you have a chronic disease. That is not to say you won’t feel other emotions, it just means that for the most part you are happy and content.

Happiness Comes from Within

I just read an article on 10 Simple Steps to a Happier You. The author has some valid points that might help you.

Happiness doesn’t come easy to me. It’s something that I have to work on consistently. Depression and a natural predisposition toward grumpiness (Thanks, Dad!) means I have to acknowledge that I am not those emotions and work on not reacting to whatever caused them.

1. Mindfulness- I need to be diligent in recognizing negative thoughts and reactions. I acknowledge and then let them go.

2. Meditation- This time in my day is strictly for me. It gives me a chance to be closer to myself, the universe and God. There are many good guided meditations on YouTube. Here is a ten minute meditation that I like. There are shorter and longer ones depending on how much time you have and how long you pay attention. I have to admit that my thoughts break in all the time. I acknowledge them and then let them go.

3. Develop a mantra that you can recite when stress becomes too much. I say the Serenity Prayer. You can read it here. I say the shortened version, sometimes I repeat… “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” over and over.

Those three things allow me to get closer to happiness and to loving myself. That is the true key to being happy.

4. Love/Like yourself – become the person you want to be. Find things you enjoy doing that fulfill you and make you happy to be alive.

I realize that you may not have the job you want, but be happy that you have one. Try to find joy in whatever you do.

For instance my least favorite thing to do is housework, but I love the end result.

The hardest days for me is when I can barely drag myself from bed. Whether pain or vertigo or fatigue is the cause… I feel useless during these times. I need to remind myself that it is just temporary and that tomorrow is another day.

I know I’ve written on this subject before, but I was reminded today that it’s important to remember!

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Be Flexible

When you live with a chronic illness, you can still enjoy your life. But you must be flexible. Also, it helps if your family and friends are flexible too. Although I make plans, there is always a possibility that I will not be able to make it. I know that and I am okay with that.

Occasionally, I make bad choices. I went to the Saw Escape Room two days after having a full blown vertigo attack. I was still in the hangover stage of the attack. Meaning my balance was more off then normal, lights bothered me more and the brain fog was off the charts. You can’t see it, but I relied heavily on my cane to keep me upright throughout this experience. In hindsight, I should have cancelled, because I was no help to our group. A friend bought it for me for my birthday, so I went. Knowing my friend, she would have rescheduled, but I felt like I had to go.

Other times, though I may rely on my cane, I am just off a bit. General feelings of dizziness or balance problems, so I am able to carry on. In Ireland, I was off a bit most of the time, but managed to carry on. This is what I mean by so-so days. If someone is by my side, I can enjoy myself without too much worry.

When I have good days like this day, I am able to attend a free outdoor concert in hundred degree weather. Even though I couldn’t feel my toes by the end of the concert. LOL! I know when I overdo things I may regret it the next day. Fibromyalgia will invariably hit, if not Meniere’s or something else.

This is the day after the concert. I went to a football game with Ralph. My glasses and smile hide the pain and dizziness I experienced. Did I mention that people with invisible disabilities are good at pretending to be healthy? We are. Unless I can’t get out of bed or you can see/or are looking at my eyes, you’ll never know I don’t feel well without me telling you. Typically, Ralph knows when I am having issues.

Since Ireland, I have cancelled out on activities, because I felt awful. A movie with Ralph and a friend, I sent them on without me. A few other things that Ralph and I had planned, but nothing big. I usually rest well before activities. It helps tremendously if I rest before going places like concerts. I had to decline going to see Weird Al with my brother, though I had bought the tickets months ago. Fortunately, he and his wife enjoyed the show. So, no I don’t get to do everything I want, but I do a lot.

I live despite my chronic illnesses. They may set me back once in awhile, but not every time. If I am having a particularly good day then, I’ll do something with others or on my own. I don’t drive if I have any dizziness or brain fog, but I can on good days. Not being able to jump into a car and go has been the hardest part of having Meniere’s. Fortunately, there are rideshares like Uber and Lyft. So, I am not stuck if I am having a so-so day, which are more often than not.

I hope you are spin free.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita