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Who is The Chronic Elephant?

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ME and Chronic pain keep me bed-bound... and creating art and writing blogs keep me sane.

I blog about how to cope when pain is bad, what it feels like to receive well meant advice ( don't do it people!), how to keep your faith when you don't get better, explorations into planet Gluten Free, and how to avoid steering your disability scooter through something the dog owner should have bagged and binned..
The images posted on here are of me reclaiming my life and living it one tiny bit at a time. You can see art works inspired by my everyday life, about coping with life in bed, and images of flowers, plants, imaginary worlds, my faith and my felt tips.

You will also find my mumblings- writings, thoughts and blog entries, about being me and about having ME!





I have been writing blogs on ME and disability for the last year using 'the elephant' avatar and name. It started as a joke...(I am not likely to be wandering 'back to the jungle' anytime soon)....but I think the l…

A TALE OF 3 CITIES: PART TWO -LA PAZ, BOLIVIA

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So...to recap Pt. 1. I had ME all my 20's, no cure and no sense that God gave a XXXX about me. Fast forward to being in my early 30's and health had improved considerably...even if my life was proceeding like a car with a blind driver...



By 2005 I had improved so much that I was able to travel to La Paz overland from Brazil. Our 4 month back packing trip involved taking my healing and meditation skills on tour to New York, Southern Brasil, Bolivia and some of Peru. There was no healing in New York, but a lot of pastries and sightseeing. This was some improvement!

Was I completely cured? Totally well? Looking back from the perspective of someone who is now more sick than well, the answer to both questions, is a definite 'no'. I was residing in that space well known to long term ME sufferers- I was in Denial.

Even during my best years, I was habitually sick, having infections and viruses that wouldn't heal, and constantly having to take to my bed, taking pain killers ev…

MINI BLOG: A FEW SHORT LINES ABOUT GRIEF

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THIS PIECE WAS WRITTEN AS PART OF A THERAPUTIC PHOTOGRAPHY GROUP ( ONLINE). PLEASE DO NOT THINK THAT I AM REALLY DEPRESSED OR FALLING APART. THIS IS NOT A CRY FOR HELP- I AM DEFINATELY WAVING. AND NOT DROWNING!!.  THIS IS A SINCERE ATTEMPT TO EXPLORE THE LOSSES OF THE LAST YEARS, THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY AND WORDS...AND  I HOPE THIS MINI- BLOG WILL RESONATE WITH SOME OF YOU. 
Grief.

I have lost a person I spent every day with and loved, I had hopes and dreams about her future. I miss how she used to look and feel, and her plans for what she thought she would be doing, and the adventures she thought she would have. The person who has taken her place, is kinder and more patient. Life has broken her open and the Light streams in and out now...

Grieving is like a Malaria that I know I will never be entirely free from. 

 I live in the moment, it is all I can have, and I am occupied by doing all the things I need to do to placate this new sick person, .and then...

...an encounter with the world…

A TALE OF 3 CITIES. PART ONE: BRIGHTON, ENGLAND.

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There is a regular occurrence in the 'Peanuts' strip cartoon, when the tiny tyrant Lucy, takes the ball away, from an ever hopeful Charlie Brown.

Charlie is left feeling bruised, disappointed, and betrayed by life. He also feels like an idiot for not having anticipated a bad outcome. Experiencing several of those 'Lucy' events in succession, can steal your judgement and optimism and leave you feeling as if life has just thrown you into a black pit.

At that point, almost everyone prays, even if it is to a God that they don't believe in. It is what we do. For most of my life, that was me- I didn't believe in God until I was desperate, and then it was only to get what I wanted. I thought of God as a tyrant to punish me, or a Santa Claus able to grant my wishes. Over time, to my great surprise, this gradually changed...and I found Faith. 


I would like to celebrate my journey from Church-hating atheist, to card-carrying Christian, in a series of three Blogs I'm c…

HEAL ME- Book Review

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The unfortunate thing about Chronic illness, is that when you are already sick,  stressful life events only make you sicker. So....after an extended period of devoting every shred of energy to ...well...being ill basically.... the elephant is BACK and getting down to this week's Blog...

Heal Me- Book Review.

According to NHS UK,  it is estimated that around 43% of people in the UK experience chronic pain....with 1.5 billion suffering worldwide. It is one of the most poorly understood and difficult conditions to treat.





Like many in the Chronically ill posse, after being left to my own devices by conventional medicine, I have tried many things over the last 30 years in a repeated attempts to find a 'cure':


Chinese Medicine, Cranial Osteopathy, Chiropractic treatment, Natruropathy, swimming, breathing lessons, spiritual healing, Reiki healing, exclusion diets, physiotherapy ( x4), acupuncture, yoga, learning Reiki, private allergy specialist, holistic hospital... You hum it- I…

PIP BENEFIT: 8 STEPS BACK... and 1 STEP FORWARD.

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Eagle- eyed readers may recall that my last Blog on this subject was back in April 2017, when I wrote about Friends Without Benefits.  As we are still in the sanity-testing maelstrom, that is applying for disability benefit in the UK, it seems timely to have an update ( spoiler alert: I am not smiling or looking relieved).



To recap- I had applied in September '16 and was refused benefit. I did a Mandatory Reconsideration ( to add more evidence), and was refused again. This would have been easier to deal with if it had not happened during the period when I was struggling to accept my disability and learning to adapt to do some things and not to do others.

I am writing this propped up in bed- where I spend (at least ) 80% of my time. Within my eye-line, is a walker with wheels, a trolley I can push along when I can't carry things, and an over-bed trolley like you get in hospitals. I am propped up a little by an electric pillow raiser.

In short, I am disabled.

Around 6 weeks ago,…

10 PODCASTS TO MAKE YOUR EARS SMILE

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A year ago, like Howard Carter finding the tomb of Tutankhamen, my ears and I were dazzled and amazed when a trawl through a drawer full of junk unearthed an elderly ipod Nano. Surprisingly it still worked, and after I cranked up my tiny brain, pod-things got searched for, found, and then subscribed to, and eventually downloaded and enjoyed.


I was amazed at how this sub-culture has mushroomed in the years whilst I was pod-less. There are now podcasts on every subject you can imagine, and with every style of presentation, ranging from panel discussions to stand up, celebrities discussing their taste in clothing, to the bereaved confiding their grief. There are shows about politics, astronomy, music, stand-up comedy, dramas, mental health, and chakras...and let’s not forget the Archers.
These are podcasts I really enjoy and  ( I think), will be for both men and women. Elephants as well...


So this is how my ears and I like to spend a large part of the day- sucking in all this inte…

The End of the Beginning: My 4th Disability Anniversary

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There are times when writing a Blog is great...and times when life  is a barely functioning shambles, and I'd prefer not to be shuffling it into the light of public gaze.


October 28th 2017 was the latter..



 When I Blogged about having a 'Disability Anniversary'  I received some very thought provoking and reactions- for which I am grateful.

I appreciated your heartfelt feedback, and have thought afresh about the fact that for all of us the onset of getting ill is probably up there with life's shittiest experiences...and that for some this had involved life and death situations. The word celebrate can feel like a sad joke...but, as I had resolved to do it- I did it! This Blog is about my 'celebration' attempt.


You will remember that I planned to mark the 4th anniversary of when I had first begun to be DISABLED.I had treated myself to sparkly nail polish...had planned to make a ' cake'( of sorts)...and had been given a nice glossy magazine to enjoy on The Day…