Thursday, 11 October 2012

Two Special Days


Yesterday was World Mental Health Day. One of the messages of the day was for people to open up about their mental health issues. That makes sense and so...

...I don’t think I’ve ever admitted here on my blog that I left full-time teaching due to a nervous breakdown. I've since spoken to many other teachers who have had similar problems and it helps to know that I'm not the only one. I’ve never completely recovered my composure since then but I’m a whole lot better for having had counselling and the chance to talk about things.


Tomorrow is World Arthritis Day. This is another one that I can identify with. About ten years ago I was diagnosed with the early stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis. I saw a Rheumatologist who prescribed anti-inflammatory pills and said, “Ask your GP to increase the strength when these are no longer strong enough.” I didn’t take them. My arthritis has hardly worsened and I dread to think what my stomach would have been like if I’d been stuffing it with those drugs for the last umpteen years.

That doesn’t mean that the Arthritis doesn’t trouble me. It does but it’s manageable. I’ve tried various exclusion diets. Wheat, dairy, they made no difference. I cut out oranges, plums, tomatoes and rhubarb. That helped a little and it does get worse when I feast on delicious cherry tomatoes from Mr A’s greenhouse. I do Pilates once a week. It's Clinical Pilates. There are only six of us in the group and the instructor knows about our individual needs and adapts moves accordingly. This exercise does more than anything to keep things moving so I suppose I’m one of the lucky ones.

Arthritis Care are asking people to raise awareness of World Arthritis Day. About 10 million people in the UK alone have arthritis so this is relevant to a large percentage of us. Pop over to their website, ArthritisCare, to read about the facts of arthritis, get contact details of people who can help you cope with the disease and find out more about this campaign.

Do you have any tried and tested ways to ease the symptoms of arthritis? If you do then please share them in the Comments below. A lot of us will be interested to read them.
[Apparently this week is National Chocolate Week. Who needs a whole week to remind them to eat chocolate? Every week is chocolate week, isn't it?]

24 comments:

  1. Arthritis - I was diagnosed about 12 years ago. The first thing I did was find out everything I possibly could about it - the why, the treatment, uncertain prognosis - the lot. So whatever happens, it won't come as a surprise.

    Then play with diet - like you, Ros, I get a reaction from acidic fruit and veg (oranges, tomatoes etc) and have to keep them to a minimum. And forgive the weather - it can feel as if it gangs up on you at time.

    Find pain relief that works for you, and take it at that time of day that is a problem (I use it overnight - sore knees can be manageable during the day but take over the world at 2 in the morning). There is no point in being stoical and trying to manage the pain on your own if it stops you doing things you really want to do

    And then - get on with all the other wonderful things you do. Make cakes, grow tomatoes, cycle from Lands End to John O'Groats. Having arthritis is just a fraction of all the great things that make you who you are. From time to time it will bite you on the bum (or on the knee) but most of the time you can put it in its box.

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    1. Hi Jo, some great suggestions here, but cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats was a joke, right?

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  2. My husband has arthritis (osteo) and says the weather definitely has an effect on him. Well done you for not taking those awful antiflammatory things. They really do destroy your stomach (ask my husband!) It's amazing that there's no other solution.
    My sympathy too for the breakdown...I'm no stranger to depression and when it hits you I know it's hell.

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    1. Hi Susan, I think we should all go off to a sunnier land. We'd possibly still have arthritis but there would be other things to think about!

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  3. I suffer from arthritis. Boy the cold weather this last weekend left me in pain for four days.

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    1. Hi Michael, like I just said to Susan, let's all hop off to a warmer country!

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  4. Arthritis..yep...osteo left hip/knee and lower back. So far I am controlling with tylenol and hot showers and rest. Eventually it will mean a hip replacement. Oh yes, and I do my best to follow the gout diet which is supposed to help.
    Depression..yep..occasionally but fortunately for me, manageable.
    Chocolate..would you believe I just had the mail man drop off a box of Newfoundland Chocolates in my mailbox? whoohoo.

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    1. Hi Delores, are you not even going to offer us one of those choccies? Huh! I suspect that chocolate is bad for joints too but that's a step too far!

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  5. Buddy has pains but some herbal remedies seem to be making him less affected, less pain.
    And the world mental health issue is in the media today trying hard to get us to be more aware.
    Buddy is using products from a source known as Bell, not the communication company.
    Hubby uses samE for mild depression.

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    1. Hi Heidrun, I tried herbal remedies but they didn't help. They must help some people though as herbalists have been around longer than traditional doctors or so I believe.

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  6. Arthritis - not yet. Depression - oh yes, bad enough to almost get sectioned. Cognitive hypnotherapy saved my life! Thanks for being brave enough to 'come out' on this. Like you, I have now achieved equilibrium, tho' I have to watch myself if I get overtired and over-focused, when I start manifesting 'bi-polarity' a warning sign. Glad you're around, lady. Mitzvot to you.

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    1. Thanks Carol, know what you mean about having to watch yourself. My weak spot is my kids. I go into a downward spiral when they're having problems.

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  7. I have had some problems with osteo arthritis and I use ginger. Just the powdered kind, but I put it on my oatmeal in the morning and yogurt at lunch, so I eat quite a bit of it. I have no pain now, but I'm not sure if it's the ginger. Others have recommended it also. Don't know if it would help for rheumatoid arthritis.
    I'm sorry about your breakdown. I haven't had that, but before I left Sweden, I had a terrible case of agoraphobia. Coming to America cured me. Good for you to talk about it here. And all the best for the future. Here in the US it is breast cancer month and I think anti-bullying month as well. I have been faced with both.

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    1. Hi Inger, I have a weakness for ginger. I keep a pot of crystallized ginger in the cupboard and pop a piece in my mouth whenever I pass by.

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  8. I didn't realize it was Mental Health day - very frustrated that I missed that. I try to talk about these kinds of days with my students all the time. Mental Health can be so invisible and we need to bring it out in the open and make people more comfortable discussing it.

    I empathize with your breakdown. I know a lot of teachers who have had the same issue. It is a much more stressful job than most people realize - it wraps up your heart, your soul and your health in one tight bundle and flings it around for fun.

    I've taught dozens and dozens of kids with serious mental health issues - I don't think most people realize how common it is. At this point, I'd estimate about 1/3 of my students every year have mental health issues. We need to do a better job of helping folks!

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    1. Hi Jemi, it's good to home in on things like special days in school. I used to do that too. How sad that about 1/3 of your students have mental health issues. Countries should be spending more on research into this area.

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  9. I also have bad knee osteoarthritis which affects how I walk and is painful, often very painful and I too refuse to live on painkillers.

    But I recently heard again first hand about something which my orthopedic surgeon mentioned when I went to see him last year.
    After seeing how much it helped others, including my own brother in law I am about to start AposTherapy
    http://apostherapy.co.uk/en/home

    They have an amazingly high success rate ( they only take you on if they know their specially designed shoes will help you)
    They are expensive, here in Israel the health funds cover most of the cost - I don't know about in other countries - but these shoes have saved people from stomach ruining painkillers / hip and knee replacement operations.

    I hope I have as much success as others have had - wish me luck.

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    1. Hi Ann, I think we talked about Apos Therapy last year and I meant to find out more about it then. I shall go now and investigate seeing as all my shoes are causing pains of one sort or another these days.

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  10. Thank you for visiting my guest post over at Karen's blog and your comment was appreciated.

    I suffer with panic or anxiety attacks. I have them under control but see a psychiatrist quarterly. Left untreated it brings on depression so I have battled both.

    At first I was ashamed, it was like a character flaw. Now I talk about it often. It helps others and myself.

    Arthritis, another yes. I really get stiff and sore when the weather changes. My knee aches the worst. I've recently been taken a low dose of muscle relaxer "flexiril." It helps a lot but only for night when you don't have to drive.
    Good luck to you, you are a lovely person.

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    1. Hi Debra, it sounds like you've really got on top of your depression issues. Isn't it sad that we should be made to feel ashamed about an illness that could hit anybody at any time.

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  11. Rosalind, it seems to me that teaching is very stressful and many teachers here in the Netherlands suffer from what is termed burn-out. I am also a teacher but am happy that I've remained freelance as I think that has saved me from the worst of the pressure and demands. You have my deepest sympathies though. I get close to throwing it all in myself every year due to the stress! As for arthritis, I'm also with you there. To add to what others have contributed here, I find Glucosamine a great help along with Omega 3 fish oils. Still, if the weather is both cold and wet, nothing much helps. I'm lucky that it's not the rheumatoid arthritis, though. Best of best of best wishes to you!

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    1. Hi Val, well done for surviving the teaching job. I wish I'd backed off sooner, gone part time. I miss the kids. I've tried Glucosamine but it didn't help though I do know people who have benefited from it.

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  12. I really admire your honesty Rosalind. I'm also impressed that you do Pilates. Hope all of your efforts continue to keep your body and soul in top form. Glad you decided not to take that arthritis medication. Julie

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  13. Hi Ros .. Thankfully I don't suffer from mental illness - but now I've been around illness via my mother in her last years .. I can appreciate more. I had a friend who was severely struck with it - via post natal depression .. and she needs drugs all the time now - she's fine, fit and flourishing as long as she takes her dose.

    Arthritis - my mother tried 6 months without gin (that was the worst I suspect!!), tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines (all solanum type veggies), oranges, red meat and dairy products - she lost weight and said she felt loads better ... chocolate and gin (or probably wine) eased their way back into her life .. still 91 is a good age!

    I'll have to keep an eye open for some clinical pilates ... cheers Hilary

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