Things which are helpful are entirely individual to each person, but I thought I would do a post highlighting mine.
1. Hot water bottle
It's such a simple thing yet often very beneficial for both a histrionic bowel and general aching. Mine lives in a fluffy hippo cover, because I'm a massive child at heart.
2. Toll the Hounds by Steven Erikson
This is more a reference to the entire series (The Malazan Book of the Fallen) than to that one book. Whilst I find reading anything to be a relaxing activity and therefore beneficial, the Malazan books own a very special place in my heart. I began reading the series just before falling ill, and it so happened that through each time I went in to hospital, each difficult appointment, each trip to A&E and each disappointing negative result I was reading one of the ten book series. The series is Tolkien-esque in both epic scope and seamless world-building and so provided me with a total escape from everything. I could forget about the pain and the fact I still knew nothing about what my body was doing to me and immerse myself in the world of Wu and its colourful cast of characters. In a way I find difficult to describe these books have become a tangible source of comfort and catharsis for me - I actually wrote to the author with the effect the books had on me and to tell him how much joy and comfort they gave me, and received a reply from him which I will always treasure. My pain management clinician told me that attachment to books, music, films and the like isn't uncommon for those with incurable conditions. Do you have any particular attachments like this? What are they?
3. A CD player
Music is a great escape and mood lifter. I like most people have quite a collection, but because I do quite a bit of work on my computer I devised a Youtube playlist to run in the background. Mine contains all sorts - particular bands such as power metallers Serenity, Edguy and Sonata Arctica, classical crossovers like Il Divo and Russell Watson, odd songs I really love such as Rufus Wainwright's Hallelujah, Bruce Dickinson's Jerusalem and Sixpence None the Richer's cover of Don't Dream It's Over, film soundstracks such as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, game music from the Forgotten Realms and Elder Scrolls series as well as the work of Youtube artists Malukah, Peter Hollens, Lindsey Stirling and Miracle of Sound. There's no particular defining quality besides that they all make me smile. I have it playing now as I write.
4. Lavender bunny
It's not a cuddly toy, although it looks like one. It's a microwaveable wheatbag! As it heats it releases a relaxing lavender scent and is also easy to place on any part of the body or, especially useful for me as my Fibro likes to attack my hands, easy to sit with my hands around it. Heat is an absolute must for me when the pain strikes.
5. Fibromyalgia Serenity Prayer mug and Awareness keyring
I bought the mug from Cafepress because it made me smile. It's a version of the Serenity Prayer ending "And grant me the wisdom to hide the bodies of the doctors I shot when they said "You're perfectly healthy, it's all in your head." The keyring is from Zazzle and part of their illness awareness range. I like to make small purchases such as this to help the cause. It features the fibromyalgia butterfly (symbolic of metamorphosis and the lightest of touches causing pain due to our hypersensitivity). Other awareness symbols to look our for are the Cranberry Ribbon (fibromyalgia specific) and the Purple Ribbon for all autoimmune conditions.
6. Thermal base layers and ski socks
Heat is a must for me and keeping warm is of paramount importance. Those socks are leftover from my days as a skiier but any thick woolly socks work just as well. The base layers came from Sainsbury's, but any supermarket or clothing store should stock them fairly cheaply. They make a world of difference despite their deceptive thinness.
7. Heat therapy gloves
These fingerless gloves fit snugly to the hand and are made of neoprene, which traps heat against the skin. I found my hands feeling warm after just a few seconds of wearing them. They have been invaluable to me as they allow me to regain some dexterity when my hands are bad - which has been wonderful as one of my main hobbies is sketching. Here are a couple of different options:
8. A box of spoons
This was a lovely gift from my friend Jenny, a fellow awareness blogger who lives here: I Have Eczema. It's a little ornate box filled with tiny spoons. I have it sitting open on my computer desk and it always makes me smile.
What are your helpful things? I'd love to hear about them.