Thursday, 30 January 2014

Let the wind carry you home...

Let the wind carry you home
Blackbird, fly away
May you never be broken again.
Beyond the suffering you've known
I hope you find your way
May you never be broken again.

Blackbird - Alter Bridge

I'm sure many of my readers have pets of some description, and I'm sure many more have heard about therapy animals and that sort of thing. Whilst having never experienced the official thing, I've always been a firm believer in the fact that animals are often very soothing and make for wonderful companionship.

For some background, I grew up with a German Shepherd. He was six months older than I was and despite the fearsome reputation of the breed he was a true gentle giant. Whilst he pulled my Dad's arm from his socket on walks, when I was given the lead he walked as quietly as a lamb, and in the end he reached the ripe old age of 13 (excellent going for a pedigree Shepherd).

Now, as you all know I have a cat. Or should I say I am part of the staff of a cat - the more years I spend with her I become further convinced that nobody truly owns a cat except the cat in question.

(Whimsical, independent and partial to the occasional RPG)

Despite the fact going out, driving and the like is essentially tiring and a recipe for flares, fatigue and frustration when I do get out one of my principle loves is to visit animal centres. When I was younger our family holidays were mostly in Devon, staying on a farm and day tripping about. Two things were always on the itinerary - heavy horses and birds of prey.

I've spoken before about having to give up horse riding, first for financial reasons but once the finances were back in place I started to suffer with ill health, and with the joint problems and diagnosis of Fibromyalgia my last few hopes were set aside. At the end of the day even on the quietest of school masters the very nature of horse riding puts tremendous pressure through the joints, particularly in the back and legs. Given my knees and hips in particular are terrible, it would be beyond stupid for me to try and return to the sport. However, I've always loved horses and they are wonderful animals to spend time around even when participating in riding isn't an option. They're intelligent, sociable and I find their presence very soothing. Donkeys have a similar effect - they may not be anywhere near as pretty but I've always found them very calming.

Birds of prey however? Now they are something still well within my power to fully enjoy.

Before Christmas a friend spotted the York Bird of Prey Centre* on a Groupon offer - their hawk walks and half day falconry experiences were reduced by 60% in price. I'd visited the centre earlier in the year and had been very impressed by their healthy and happy birds, and in particular their adherence to the art of falconry as it would have been in medieval Britain - no tagging, no telemetry and no gadgets, just pure training and handling time with their array of birds. Needless to say, we snapped up the opportunity.

(Shadow the Golden Eagle. Clearly finding me nowhere near as interesting as I found him....)

Last week we went for our booked in half day experience, only to be met with typically British weather. Rather than being sent away and told to rearrange, the centre put on something of an ad-hoc afternoon of talks about some of their various birds which included the chance to handle them for the whole group - including to our surprise their stunning Golden Eagle. As I said above I've been going to falconry centres since my childhood, and I don't know of another with one of these magnificent birds which is suitable to be handled. Whilst the opportunity was a wonderful thing, the staff and volunteers did not shy away from the fact the eagle is a fearsome predator, dangerous not only because of its power (2000 PSI of pressure per foot, no less) but also for its intelligence. It provides an instant mixture of awe and fear to be told the bird on the end of your arm can hear your jugular vein. Ick.

We also had the opportunity to hold a Barn Owl, a Red-tailed Hawk, a European Eagle Owl and a Peregrine Falcon, which I think is still probably my favourite bird of prey. If you ever have the chance to watch a Peregrine working on a lure I recommend you take it as you are in for quite a treat.

So how was I after this trip?

Extremely sore. As beautiful as he was, holding a 10 pound bird on my weaker arm was never going to amount to anything but an unhappy shoulder. Despite spending most of the day sitting my hips and knees were as they always are and I was absolutely exhausted.

The situation wasn't helped by driving our courtesy car (I had a minor bump a couple of weeks ago) - it was the new model Fiesta and I hated it. Disproportionately heavy to drive and the ride was very uncomfortable - it almost felt like being back in my old Ka. Long live the Tardis car!

(Tardis car....  from the planet Gallifrey in the constellation of Kasterborous, the oncoming storm, the bringer of darkness.... and it's basically just a Hyundai i10 isn't it?)

However, nearly four hours with a group of incredibly knowledgeable people and the chance to get up close and personal with utterly beautiful animals? I could never question the fact it was totally worth it.

A conclusion I'm coming to in general is that some things are more important than the pain and fatigue. The enjoyment gained from some experiences outweighs the resultant reaction of my crooked immune system. For me, animals of all kinds are a wonderful distraction and have been a burning interest of mine for as long as I can remember. I visited Chester Zoo last year and I felt the day of walking round it for a good few weeks afterwards, but again it was completely worth it.

My advice? Find the things that work for you and take every opportunity you can to engage in them. It doesn't matter if it's relatively infrequently - once is always going to be better than nothing.

Some things are more important than pain and exhaustion.

I for one am incredibly grateful for that.

Wishing you many spoons xxx

*For anyone who is interested, the York Bird of Prey Centre lives here

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Here Be Monsters

Well, one singular monster to be completely accurate. It’s me.

(Innovative, but I like the dragon version better. Image from

It’s possibly unwise to continue with a post that alienates half of my readership by gender automatically, but sometimes these things just need saying, so I apologise to any male readers and particularly those without strong stomachs. If you really want to run away I promise not to laugh. Well, I promise not to laugh too much.

It’s that time of the month.

For those unfamiliar, what I mean is it’s the one week a month where regardless of how well behaved I am in terms of maximum being kind to myself and minimum stress I’m riddled with pain regardless. It’s the one week out of every four when Petunia starts wearing her Smaug hat, decides she’s King Under the Mountain and wakes up to find that someone stole her Arkenstone. She doesn’t take this particularly well.

I can put as many strategies in place as I like (and believe me I’ve tried repeatedly) but to continue with my metaphor, none of this matters and I am essentially Esgaroth on the Long Lake heading for a roasting.

Prior to contracting Fibromyalgia, with some help from the contraceptive pill I didn’t have particularly bad periods. A couple of days of stomach ache and to be honest that was the worst it ever became. I’d have frequent accompanying headaches but that would be the utmost extent of any peripheral symptoms. I was never given to PMS either. As long as I had access to a hot water bottle and bananas I’d remain the picture of equanimity about the whole thing.

Yes, bananas. Stop looking at me like that. They can help settle down cramps because they’re full of potassium – and unlike the other oft-toted remedy of chamomile tea bananas don’t taste like pond water.

Enter Petunia and her dragon phase. The problem isn’t just that the usual cramps have gotten worse; it’s the sudden interaction with the usual pain and stiffness symptoms. It usually renders me far too uncomfortable to exercise for at least the first few days, so I don’t have my usual get out of jail with only minor aching card to play.

The worst part though is my horrendous mood swings, which as I said I never used to have. I’ll either be irrationally irritated by everything (whether it would have irritated me or not on a normal day doesn’t really seem to factor in) or I just want to curl up and cry for…... well, no reason I can particularly think of. It’s not a good time to catch me with a weepy film, as my mother learnt to her amusement last year.

Sure, let’s watch The Bucket List. “It’s not too bad, you might cry a little bit at the end”.

(All joking aside it's a great film, I recommend giving it a watch. Image from

Fast forward two hours and I was making a solid attempt at the world’s first house flood caused purely by tears. As an aside though if you ever want me to cry on cue, apparently you just have to show me either Morgan Freeman or Bernard Cribbins being especially sincere (I’m looking at you Russel T Davies, and I haven’t forgiven you for The End of Time yet!) and I’ll sob like a baby.

So, we’re left with the only solution being the one my friend and I usually come to – if it can’t be fixed by cake, it ain’t worth fixing. Fine in theory, except that I already tend to feel like something of a beached whale for the entire time because I can’t exercise, so whilst cake never makes it worse, in this instance it doesn’t necessarily make things better either. You can’t blame a girl for diligently making further tests in this regard though…

My inventory for these weeks tends to consist of my hot water bottle or my wheat bag, the sofa, Disney films, the occasional piece of cake (in the name of science) and as many cups of chai tea as my attempts at Puss in Boots eyes can encourage out of my long-suffering other half. If you don’t already then you really should feel for him a bit, he does after all have to live with me when I’m like this.

So, I have come to a conclusion.

If I ever rule the world, “time of the month” is going to come with an automatic opt-out for those suffering with other health problems, given it seems to interact with most of them.

With this in mind, who’d vote for me?

Pushing tongue out of cheek, and wishing you all many spoons xxx

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Where words fail, music speaks.

A Hans Christian Andersen quote for you - let it never be said that I settle for predictable post titles!

I've been meaning to write a post about music as a form of relief for quite some time but I could never find a frame in which to discuss it. Music is what it is, after all. It's often a deeply personal experience and so it can be difficult to define to another what a particular piece can make you feel.

I attended a concert I was busy getting excited about in my New Year post last week, and this crystallised exactly what I've been wanting to say.

Music is a relief because it can be a complete emotional catharsis when you find the right pieces and songs.

The concert was Trans-Siberian Orchestra, in only their second ever show on British shores. In 2011 they graced London with their Beethoven's Last Night show, and this time they were returning for two dates with a "never before seen Europe-only show" which promised to reunite elements of the band's past, present and future.

(Granted this is at a much bigger show in the USA, but I'm sure you get the gist...
Image from

For those unfamiliar, TSO's past is most notably the heavy metal band Savatage, who have remained on permanent hiatus since their final summer festival appearances in 2002. The partner in crime and I spent most of our journey over to Manchester trading off which Savatage songs we thought would be played - whilst I love the Savatage I've heard, I'm not so well versed as he is as my first love is given to the TSO project. At heart I'm anyone's for big silly stage musical-esque goings-on. We were also meeting friends there, so it had all the makings of a very enjoyable night.

In describing exactly what TSO is I come up against some difficulty. Put as simply as possible it's a five piece rock band, a lead violin virtuoso, an orchestra and a choir of exceptional singers most of whom also take solo spots during the show and wouldn't be out of place on the West End or Broadway (where some have actually performed). There's also a narrator in the form of the wonderful Bryan Hicks, and it's all performed in the manner of an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. Oh, and there's classical pieces played as a mixture of the band and the orchestra. And pyrotechnics. And lasers.

They provide the perfect example of catharsis for me. It was fortunately or unfortunately dependent on view point a fully seated gig, although not without plenty of attempts by the band to get everybody on their feet. Some of the Savatage lends itself to nothing better than hair-whirling dancing, while plenty more of both theirs and TSO's back catalogue calls for singing along at the top of your lungs. At the other end of the scale was the heart-rending ballad Believe, performed with astonishing emotion by Robin Borneman. That marked the point in the night when both myself and Alex were reduced to tears.

He'll tell you the room was full of sand and someone in the row in front was chopping onions, but you should never believe anything he says!

(Robin "You-don't-need-those-heartstrings-anyway" Borneman, making Believe just that little bit more magical for me at least. Image from

After that potent mixture of emotion throughout the night I felt almost scoured clean and completely drained, but in a rather more wonderful way than I would usually mean with that word. Seeing Bruce Springsteen (a childhood dream) in the summer of 2012 was a similar experience, as was watching Les Miserables in the West End for my eighteenth birthday.

That's the ultimate power of music for me - or a mixture of music and words in the case of songs - in the hands of the skilled it shines and can touch most everyone in some way, be it big or small. What's not to love about that?

On that note, without realising I've been slowly collecting a bunch of songs together over the last few years into a playlist on Youtube. I stick it on in the background when I'm writing for TRB, pulling admin duty for the brilliant Chronic Illness Cat page or just generally mucking about doing anything on the computer or in its near vicinity. I won't list everything in it, as it currently stands at 66 videos, but without consciously deciding to I've essentially put together my own emotional range of songs and I'll give a taster below.

  • Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are - Meat Loaf
Score one for the "tears" category. I don't mean it makes me sob every time, but it's just in that area of emotion. More a close-eyes-and-listen song. 

  • Nord Mead - Miracle of Sound
Because everyone wants to be a Companion, "drinking mead in the halls of Whiterun". A silly offering from Miracle of Sound inspired by Skyrim - I actually tend to stop and watch the video for this one, just for the bloke at the beginning dancing about next to the dragon skeleton. If you're a Skyrim fan, I highly recommend this as a bit of fun.

  • Gutter Ballet (live, from Ghost in the Ruins) - Savatage
Because it's wonderful, that's why. Score for the "Oh dear lord this is ridiculous" category.

  •  Carmina Burana - Trans-Siberian Orchestra
You didn't seriously think they wouldn't make the list did you? Carmina Burana, possibly more easily recognised as the O Fortuna chorus, and one of my favourite pieces of music ever written.

  • Icewind Dale Main Theme, Skyrim "Dragonborn" Theme - Jeremy Soule
Both excellent games and both pieces of music I love - what a pleasant combination. 

  • We Take Care of Our Own, Born to Run (Live in Madison Square Gardens) - Bruce Springsteen (and the E Street Band)
If you need me to explain why, you haven't been paying attention to the rest of this blog. Correct this immediately!

  • Into the West (The Return of the King OST) - Annie Lennox
Tears. I don't care a bit.

  • Jerusalem - Bruce Dickinson
A stop, close eyes, and if alone belt out at the top of my lungs sort of a song (so potentially draining in more ways than one!)

  • Nessun Dorma (live) - Russell Watson
I don't like everything Mr Watson sings, and obviously it' not the definitive version, but it's a beautiful song and a rather cracking version in my opinion. 

  • Time to Say Goodbye (live at London's Colosseum) - Il Divo
Because I gave up having any sort of street cred a very long time ago. It's another of those songs that if I'm in the right mood and can make me well up a little.

  • Fighting Trousers - Professor Elemental
I actually don't like your tweed Sir, as it happens. Perfect when I'm in need of a good giggle. 

I recommend this, if music is something you find relief in. Find the songs that make you laugh, the ones that make you cry, pieces of music that make your soul soar even if you don't know why, and the odd thing that just makes you stop and think. Stick them all together, press shuffle and enjoy!

In further music related tomfoolery, I'm slowly teaching myself to sing. Slowly. The ability as it turns out has probably always been there, it's just never had any work put into it as I have spent many years soundly convinced by others that I was hopeless. With some kind reassurance that I am in fact not so, I'm getting there. Let's call it my pet project for this year. 

My main problem at the moment is letting go of my inhibition to sing loudly enough to not fall slightly flat of the notes. It's getting better, and I'm beginning to find where my voice comfortably sits, although I'll be damned if I give up practising to the likes of Kamelot and Serenity just for the sheer fun of it. I'm currently teaching myself Nightwish's Eva, for those who know it. 

The point that I've come to realise is that you don't actually need to be a good singer to enjoy the release of singing along to your favourite pieces, and whoever can hear you can go whistle. I'm finding that singing, rather like dancing, is an incredible release of any pent up emotion and perfect for de-stressing. You don't need to be hugely talented in order to enjoy that release, and you don't owe it to anyone to meet an invisible standard.

And don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise. 

Does anyone else have specific "go to" music, or do you use music as a form of relief in any way?

Wishing you all many spoons xxx

Friday, 10 January 2014

"Words and ideas can change the world..."

... and it can be in very interesting and un-looked for ways when dealing with dysphasia.

(I promise not to spend this post whacking you all over the head with quotes from my favourite film. Just the title, she said. That'll fool 'em, she said. Image from

Now what’s dysphasia, you ask? It’s a partial difficulty in communication ranging from the very mild to the serious (the most severe form is called aphasia) and both phenomenon are most commonly associated with brain injuries. However dysphasia is also frequently seen as an aspect of the cognitive dysfunction associated with Fibromyalgia, M.E and other chronic conditions. It can manifest in several ways which include mixing up words, inability to think of the correct word needed no matter how simple and difficulties in reading and writing, particularly the misspelling of often simple words.

Dysphasia is probably the symptom I have the greatest trouble in accepting. It has in the past (and probably will again in the future) frustrated me to the point of tears. I’m sure I’m accurate in saying it’s a trial for anyone, but to give some background that’s personal to me and my situation, in my last year of primary school I sat several GCSE level English papers passing all with the equivalent of Cs and Bs. I was strong all round in academic terms, but for whatever reason I had a particular affinity for English language and literature. It came almost as naturally as breathing and with as little effort, and I continued with English literature in particular all the way up to A Level.

In short, words to me are a thing of beauty. They’re timeless and can evoke every part of the spectrum of human emotion when used with skill. If we are as is often said a race of storytellers, then the written word gave us the scope for our stories to live on beyond the humble beginnings of the oral tradition. They are, as one of the most successful storytellers of our time once wrote, our most inexhaustible source of magic.

To be so effortlessly strong with something so beautiful and to have that talent grind to a halt beyond my control? It’s beyond frustrating; it’s maddening.

Prior to contracting Fibromyalgia I hadn’t mixed up their, there and they’re since I was six, and yet now I do so semi regularly. I mix up words in the flow of a sentence when I’m speaking; usually substituting the correct word for a word that vaguely rhymes without my immediate noticing. It tends to occur to me with a delay of a few minutes that I didn’t in fact say what I meant. I also struggle for the simplest of words at times – I can be looking at whatever it is and the word just won’t come to me. The more I notice, the more frustrated I get and seemingly the more pronounced the problem becomes.

Sometimes it’s quite amusing. Recently a friend and I were discussing the best Arthurian adaptions on film - the correct answer is Sam Neill’s Merlin for the record, unless your alternative suggestion is Monty Python and the Holy Grail – and I bemoaned Colin Firth’s performance in 2004’s King Arthur. I was picturing Clive Owen, and had no doubt that it was Clive Owen who lumbered about ineffectually and in fact just played Clive Owen, but my brain was having none of it. Mr Firth, I’m sorry to tar you so horribly.

This sounds like an easy enough mistake to make for anyone, but when it’s part of a regular pattern you have to look beyond the possibilities that you’re maybe a bit groggy or not entirely with it on this particular morning. Enter a demonstration of our friend dysphasia.

(Image from

How do I write this blog then? With some difficulty. Some days the struggle for (elephants) eloquence is a particularly challenging one. (Their) There are days when I just give up altogether, jot down whatever the idea was and hope I remember the gist when I come back later.

One of the biggest frustrations for me in this regard is the fear of (luck) looking silly – mostly because I know I’m a lot more intelligent than Petunia and her mind games let me seem. This probably also spawns from the fact that my biggest personal pet hate is to be talked down to or patronised, and this comes from working in a field mired in academic snobbery. I chose not to go to university, despite getting A Levels which would probably have secured me a place just about anywhere in the country. I know my reasons and given the same set of circumstances would confidently make the same choice again, but that doesn’t stop me (riding) bridling at repeatedly having to justify my (rite) right to the title of a highly intelligent being. 

Whilst I realise that they open some doors which would otherwise be closed, a degree is not the only measure of merit in the smart stakes. If you wanted an example even (moor) more outlandish stereotypically speaking, my Dad is a bricklayer and he regularly beats the winning team of each week’s University Challenge on points, because his (breath) breadth of general knowledge (despite the lack of a university education) is almost freakish*. If you ever wanted to know where my thirst to read and find out absolutely everything came from, look no further. The smug git.    

I’m sure you’ve realised that I’m playing this for laughs to some extent, and that it’s only the best attempt at a representation on screen I can give of dysphasia. It’s not actually anywhere near the mark in terms of what it actually feels like to deal with. At its worst writing this blog can be like trying to concentrate through six inches of concrete whilst riding a hedgehog and wearing oven gloves - and the hedgehog only responds to commands in Black Speech.

Despite the humour, for the reasons I’ve talked through thus far the reality can be nothing short of heartbreaking. It sounds like an insignificant thing, but so much of me is bound up in my love of language and of reading and creating with words that at the darkest moments it feels like I’m missing an inextricable part of my person.

I’m getting better over time, but for a long while I became quite withdrawn in all but the closest company for fear of whatever idiocy I’d accidentally conjure up. I read, re-read, proof-read and standing-on-my-head read everything that I write but to little avail – yet another aspect is that I can’t always see the error in written form. I’ll be aware that I thought the wrong word, but I can’t always spot that I’ve typed it – rather like those chain emails where the first and last letters of each word are correct and the rest is garbled, the brain to some extent puts in what should be there.

In short then, if you have the fortune (or misfortune dependent on view point) of ever meeting me, consider this fair warning that I may with complete aplomb tell you that there is an ancient bylaw in place which states it is legal to kill a Scotsman within the ancient walls of York, providing you shoot him with a bow and arrow and you don’t do so on a Sunday.

Which, as it happens, is entirely true.

Does anybody else have problems with dysphasia or similar cognitive difficulties?
Wishing you many spoons xxx 

*I beat him once, but I’ve never managed it since and that once was with the help of some bonus rounds on the Aztecs, classical mythology and wordplay. Much to learn you have, young Skywalker.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Res ipsa loquitur

I love the way that phrase rolls off the tongue, but for those unfamiliar it roughly means “the thing speaks for itself”. It’s a principle of the English and Welsh law of negligence in which a breach of duty of care can be inferred simply by the nature of the circumstances without further evidence.

In colloquial terms then: stating the flaming obvious.

(Someone combined Harry Potter and the law of negligence into a thing. Even I'm not entirely sure why that makes me so happy. Image from

The matter of doing just that has been cropping up recently for me. It touches on what I think is probably a worthy discussion point for us spoonies and I’d love to hear peoples thoughts in the comments section after reading this.

Essentially, how far do you go to educate the ignorant? Where lies the point of saying “sod this” and refusing to go any further in terms of pointing out what’s essentially just past the end of someone’s nose?

For myself, I’m fairly open and honest about the fact I’m not exactly at the peak of health.  I write an easily accessible blog about it which is linked through on both my personal Facebook profile and The Retired Bridgeburner’s own page each time I have a new post, and I consider myself fairly approachable in terms of if someone wanted to ask me directly about it.

In short, I’ll appreciate a question over a false assumption every time. As I’ve said before I think of myself as pretty lucky in that I have a group of understanding and supportive friends around me who really do help make the situation much more bearable.

Considering all that, for me there’s not really much of an excuse for anyone who knows me to remain ignorant of my situation. If they were unsure, all they need do is ask, but I find it difficult to comprehend someone could be wholly unaware.

What to do, then, when faced with comments on several occasions that are either ignorant, or if they come with prior understanding pretty insensitive?

This is where the schools of thought start to separate a bit.

Logically speaking, the sensible thing to do would be to confront the situation, to point out the comments aren’t really acceptable and to explain why that’s so, and probably clarify the extent and nature of just how capricious my immune system is prepared to be to counter the possibility of just sheer ignorance.

However, my stubborn streak gets in the way of the logic here.

Essentially my usual approach is that I’ll try and explain things to someone if we start on an even keel, for example if they genuinely don’t know anything and query it. There’s a mutual undertaking there – you’ve asked the question, so I’ll answer to the best of my ability and hopefully we leave you more knowledgeable and me more comfortable. An appropriate step has been taken by both parties to clear up potential confusion.

When it’s someone who knows you’re unwell but chooses to make careless or hurtful comments instead of attempting to at least check their facts? It’s not what I would consider to be a beginning on an even keel and I have to admit it makes me disinclined to play ball. At all. Ever.

I don’t for a minute want to come across as if I assume other people should make all the effort to approach the subject, as that’s not the case and it would be a very unfair way to carry on. It suggests an expectation to be holding court as “special” or more important when in company, and I find that idea rather distasteful and it’s ultimately not the sort of person I am at all. There has to be an element of give and take and meeting in the middle to achieve understanding.

What I’m trying to convey is the concept that I’m sure we all have people around us who for a myriad of reasons really should be aware of how things stand, and who have had plenty of opportunities to clarify things which they have not made use of. There does come a point where personal pride rears its dubious head and goes “Sorry, but after all this time I don’t much feel like wasting time justifying myself to you.”

(Don't tell Petunia things like that, it just encourages her!
Image from Evolvefest on Facebook.)

Yes, it doesn’t help the situation and won’t lead to a cessation of comments, but we’re none of us Vulcan and we therefore don’t function purely on logic alone. We’re emotional beings for good or for ill.

Taking all of that into account and accepting that there is no malice involved, I remain a little irritated at being faced with comments inferring that my attitude is part of the problem and that I’m just being deliberately awkward and/or difficult if I bring up my health as a perfectly good reason I can’t engage with something.

Why? For me the first point is one small step away from “think yourself better”, and there are no words in Elvish, Entish or the tongues of Men for how much I HATE that sort of attitude, and the second sort just amounts to a complete lack of any sort of attempt to understand at all. It’s actually down right rude. 

Most (note most, not all) people who turn their health completely around and revolutionise their lives aren’t dealing with incurable illnesses. End of debate. Your inference is illogical and does not compute, so please be quiet. I don't personally think there's much wrong with my attitude, but if I accept the possibility I'm completely wrong, it still won't make my immune system behave any differently. She doesn't do self help, I'm afraid.

The conclusion I’ve essentially come to with this sort of scenario is that it’s not wrong of me to expect that there be a bit of effort on both sides to resolve things. I’m certainly responsible for attempting to fix the situation as much as I’m able to, but at the same time it’s not automatically my role to educate someone who doesn’t take steps to educate themselves.

I’ll close with a thought I think is the most important one from my point of view: there isn’t single individual in this world to whom I owe my health or happiness for the sake of their desires and expectations.

And there never will be.

How do you deal with ignorant and/or insensitive comments from those around you? Have you reached a different conclusion? Please feel free to discuss as I’d love to hear some differing viewpoints on this subject.

Wishing you all many spoons xxx