The Illest: Life With Chronic Pain & Fatigue

  • 72957348 Lessons I've Learned from Having a Chronic Illness

    by Krissy Ward 72957348 Lessons I've Learned from Having a Chronic Illness
    Having a chronic illness allows me to navigate life’s unpredictability with a sense of humor and adapt to situations easier than most. Life with chronic pain has been the most unwelcomed challenge EVER, but it has taught me so many lessons. I believe a lot of these lessons apply whether you have a chronic illness or not. 
  • When Personal Hygiene Feels Like a Chore: Mental Health & Hygiene

    by Krissy Ward When Personal Hygiene Feels Like a Chore: Mental Health & Hygiene

         The connection between chronic illness/mental illness and personal hygiene goes way deeper than most people may realize. Brushing teeth and bathing is second nature to most people, but if you are struggling, these are the tasks that are the hardest to complete.

         If you find yourself struggling with self-care, here are a few tips to make things easier for you...

  • You Can’t Stop the Waves, But You Can Learn to Surf

    by Krissy Ward You Can’t Stop the Waves, But You Can Learn to Surf

         Living with a chronic illness is a constant cycle of changing symptoms and you’re forced to find new ways to deal with pain and fatigue.

         Changing my perspective was key. Changing the way I viewed my situation and limitations wasn’t easy but definitely beneficial.

  • Surviving & Thriving a Chronic Illness

    by Krissy Ward Surviving & Thriving a Chronic Illness

         Living with a chronic illness is no walk in the park. When you’re sick with a cold or the flu, you know that eventually, you’re going to get better and life goes back to normal. A chronic illness is very different. It’s 24/7 and most likely may never go away. You have to reframe and redirect your life and thoughts to support a different narrative. Here are some tips to not only help you live a better life with your chronic illness, but help you thrive.

     

  • Laugh to Keep from Crying: Meme Edition

    by Krissy Ward Laugh to Keep from Crying: Meme Edition
         I survive being chronically ill by making jokes constantly. Living life with a chronic illness has turned my sense of humor pretty dark. I'm pretty much able to laugh at any and everything. If I don't laugh at some of the ridiculous things Fibromyalgia has done or made me do, I'd be curled up in a corner somewhere, rocking back and forth mumbling "Jesus saves." I hope you all have reached a point where you can laugh at yourself and all of the mishaps that life brings. Here is a list of memes to help you laugh to keep from crying.
  • How to Be a Better Friend to someone with a Chronic Illness

    by Krissy Ward How to Be a Better Friend to someone with a Chronic Illness

    I KNOW that getting multiple declined invites may have you thinking we aren’t interested, but nothing is further from the truth. We are sick about having to miss yet another gathering and are most likely having a pity party of our own. We don’t want to let you down and most of all, we do enjoy hanging out and having fun every now and then, it’s just that it it’s very painful to do so. Please don’t be upset if I have to cancel AGAIN. 

  • My Solo Trip to Thailand

    by Krissy Ward My Solo Trip to Thailand

    Well Warriors.... I did it. I went to a different country... a whole other continent by myself. I still can’t even believe the “solo-cation” actually happened.

         Weeks before departure time, my entire family was nervous for me; I wasn’t the least bit bothered until the day it was time for me to board. I had tears in my eyes as I was leaving my mom and headed through airport security.

         When I arrived in Bangkok and checked into my hotel, I found...

  • Seek Discomfort

    by Krissy Ward Seek Discomfort
         After being inspired by “Yes Theory”, a movement that encourages people to say “yes” to doing things that take them out of their comfort zone in order to grow as individuals, I decided to book a solo international trip to Thailand. Sounds crazy, right? That’s what everybody in my family is thinking... well everyone except my mom. She already knows I’m crazy lol.
  • Guest Blog: Chronic Illness: The Rollercoaster You can’t Get Off

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: Chronic Illness: The Rollercoaster You can’t Get Off
         Life has been pretty tough to say the least- Rough with definitive moments of wanting to give up- Not just for me but for my family too! If anything, my heart breaks many a day for them because they too have had to accept a 'new normal'. A life with a spouse who cannot hold down a job, not always available for support, and the list goes on and on! A mom who frequently spends days in a dark, quiet, room because the lights are too bright, the noise is deafening and being unable to talk because you just don't have enough energy. I mean who wants a spouse and mom like that! How does one move on from this!
  • Depression: Things You Should Know

    by Krissy Ward Depression: Things You Should Know
         Depression is like a cloud that only seems to hover over you and no one else and it can turn dark so quickly that you may not always be prepared for it. Sometimes you’ll have an umbrella and you can stay dry for the most part, but you are still very aware that it’s pouring raining. Other times, you won’t have an umbrella, a hoody or shelter nearby. That’s when the dark cloud turns from rain to hail. It knows that you don’t have any protection and that’s when it’ll try to hit you the hardest.
  • Guest Blog: Chronic Illness & Masculinity: Men In Pain

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: Chronic Illness & Masculinity: Men In Pain
    My entire life some days feels like it has been turned upside down. I was the strongest man that I could be, superman to my two young boys, and a big bearded outdoorsman who could fight off bears and make fire with his bare hands; at least that is how good I felt. One of the hardest things that I have had to deal with is being a male, a nontraditional fibromyalgia suffer, and trying to deal with chronic pain with the negative stigma that tells us that men are supposed to be strong and never admit when they are weak. I am here to tell you....
  • Guest Blog: Mental Health & Chronic Pain: Helpful Tips for A Healthy Mind

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: Mental Health & Chronic Pain: Helpful Tips for A Healthy Mind

         Life is hard. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. It throws you curve balls and they sometimes come out of left field. For some of you reading this, one of those curve balls is a diagnosis of a chronic illness.

    As a mental health counselor and a fellow fibro warrior myself, I can speak to the brutality of this disease and the ways it can impede on our happiness and negatively impact our mental health...

  • Guest Blog: The Mental Journey of Accepting Chronic Illness

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: The Mental Journey of Accepting Chronic Illness

    So finally. The word is out. I have fibromyalgia; a chronic illness. In other words: you’ll be kinda sick forever but can still kinda function too. Now what?


         I found out pretty quickly that I had to make mental adjustments in order to accept the physical pain and future vision of fibromyalgia. I feel like I can handle the physical part (on most days), as long as my mind is calm.

         The main part of the mental challenges is THE AMOUNT OF QUESTIONS!
    Who tf am I without pain?.....

  • No, I’m NOT Feeling Better: Living My Best Life Edition

    by Krissy Ward No, I’m NOT Feeling Better: Living My Best Life Edition
         This blog is courtesy of an event that keeps replaying in my head over and over. I was in Las Vegas on a family trip and we were doing A LOT o...
  • 12 Must Have Life Hacks to Make Your Life Easier with Chronic Illness

    by Krissy Ward 12 Must Have Life Hacks to Make Your Life Easier with Chronic Illness

         Living with a chronic illness means you have to get creative sometimes so you’re able to have a productive day. Here are some hacks that I’ve learned along the way.

    1. Pregnancy Pillow

     

         These aren’t just for pregnant women; they work great to support aching joints and muscles.

  • Guest Blog: Fibro & Fearless: Living with Fibromyalgia

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: Fibro &  Fearless: Living with Fibromyalgia
         It has been almost 20 years since my fibromyalgia diagnosis and I will be the first to admit that it had been an unpredictable rollercoaster ride. I was about fourteen years old. I had already been diagnosed celiac for 7 years at that point in my life. I had also experienced trauma that left me with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some research suggests that trauma can contribute to the onset of fibromyalgia, I believe it to be true, however I also believe it was a genetic predisposition that helped me obtain the diagnosis, my mother also lives with fibromyalgia. Notice how I don't say suffers, struggles, or any other word that may be misconstrued as negative. I have learned to live with my chronic illness and chronic pain. I learned acceptance, compassion, and understanding. I learned to embrace each day and each moment. It may sound unrealistic, however, it's my truth. As far as my days go, there are great days, good days, okay days, and absolutely horrible days, as far as my symptoms and pain are concerned. I firmly hold that even on my worst symptom day, I can still have a good day. It took me years to change my mindset. It took years to realize that I am in control of my happiness, my body, how I treat myself physically and emotionally.
  • Guest Blog: The Cycle of Grief

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: The Cycle of Grief
       Written by Alice Jones Hawley   People may wonder what grief has to do with chronic pain and illness... Well a whole lot actually. When a perso...
  • Depression Doesn’t Care...

    by Krissy Ward Depression Doesn’t Care...

         Depression doesn’t care if you are rich or broke.

         Depression doesn’t care if you have a loving family or a gang of friends.

         Depression doesn’t care how old you are or where you’re from

         Depression doesn’t care if you are white, black, yellow or blue. Well, it’ll make you blue, but still, you get where I’m going.

  • Traveling with a Chronic Illness: Cruise Edition

    by Krissy Ward Traveling with a Chronic Illness: Cruise Edition

    I have been traveling for longer than I can remember (almost 30 years) and have had a chronic illness for half of that time. I know first hand that traveling while fighting for your health is EXTREMELY difficult, but not impossible. It’s not like you can leave your sick body and just get a new one for your vacation. (But, that’d be AMAZING, wouldn’t it!?) So because of this, planning ahead for any trip, or for anything for that matter, is so much more important when you are chronically ill. 

         Traveling takes a lot of courage especially when you don't always feel well. People may question why we would even want to travel if we “feel that sick”. It’s why we do anything... we want to live DESPITE being sick. I KNOW that there will be consequences for pushing myself on vacay, but sometimes we have to step outside of the world of our illnesses allows and just LIVE.

         Like my previous travel blog, I will be giving you tips on how to survive a vacation, but this time, it’s the cruise edition. 

     

    1. Be Your Own Advocate

    You have to speak up for yourself. Only you know how you’re feeling. Make sure your cruise companions have a clear picture of what you can and cannot do to prevent any future disappointment. 

  • Reminder: Check on Your “Strong” Friends

    by Krissy Ward Reminder: Check on Your “Strong” Friends

    When you have a chronic illness, people tend to see you as an inspiration. I hear how strong I am all the time. I’m smiling, laughing and usually the one providing the laughs; but when everyone leaves, the dark thoughts consume me and I struggle to be the person I portrayed just hours earlier.

  • Guest Blog: Going Through High School with a Chronic Illness

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: Going Through High School with a Chronic Illness

         Each day that I had to go to school, I got angry at my mom for letting me. But she didn't know what was happening and neither did I until I slowly became aware of where the pain was located in my body. It was situated in my joints. When I described the pain to my mom, I remember saying it was "in my knees, sharp like a knife" and she brought me to her doctor. She suffers from an autoimmune disease called Lupus and she always had a sharp pain in her knee joints when she was my age. When she brought me to her doctor...

  • How to Live Your Best Life With a Chronic Illness

    by Krissy Ward How to Live Your Best Life With a Chronic Illness

    1. Acknowledge and accept your limitations.

         13 years of living with a chronic illness and I still struggle with this. Acceptance isn’t something you master and get over, it comes and goes. You can go an entire week being completely okay with your limitations and then BOOM; some thing or event sets you back. It’s important to remind yourself that limits are just that. It’s perfectly normal to get mad or be sad; you absolutely have the right to be, but you must not stay in that place. It’s not good for your mental health. 

  • Guest Blog: The Ultimate Mindset Experience

    by Krissy Ward Guest Blog: The Ultimate Mindset Experience

    Imagine being a few days out from a huge promotion at work. Everything seemed to be going well, I was growing stronger in my confidence in my career, my place in life, and I was finally comfortable with the idea that I was completely mastering “ADULTING” and things seemed to be falling perfectly into place. You couldn’t tell me that I wasn’t about to take over the world!

         Then BOOM, just like that it was all over.