Still Plodding On – Just!

I have been struggling for quite a while and I have been in what feels like a year long hibernation.

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I have been working hard on trying to gain control over my symptoms and start to recreate a world from the dusty, smashed pieces of my life left behind after my relapse couple of years ago. However, I have hidden from my blogging in spite of the comfort it used to bring me as I felt like a fraud. I wanted this blog especially to be a positive space but for well over a year I have found little to be positive about despite my best efforts. I have also been struggling with accepting the physical damage that my relapses has brought on over the past decade and I have not been able to look in to any mirror bigger than a compact size without crying, and or, having a panic attack. Due to this insecurity I felt I could not talk about makeup etc. I felt, and to be honest still feel, ashamed. I feel I have failed in life and this time I felt I could no longer mask it with makeup and positivity, so I hid away.

I still don’t want this space to be a whining list of little miseries and self indulgence but I also want to be honest about the challenges of having multiple chronic conditions. I have avoided writing about this last year as it still very painful to admit and examine and I am still worried about how people would react when I have to admit that I have been struggling, that I am not as strong or as OK as people think I am. I am still worried about not being strong enough, of failing. When I am struggling to get dressed or brush my hair I do feel like I am failing like being ill is my fault that it represents my failing, my weakness. I know that it is not logical to think that way, that no one asks to be ill and that illness is not a fault or failing but the weight of chronic illnesses can drag you down into those murky thoughts and make you feel that you do not deserve to be around, to be seen.

I have had another biggish flare a few weeks ago and I am fed up. Fed up of waiting for things to change. I want to move on and I want to get better and I want to start re-engaging with the world again, so I thought I should start back in a space that I have felt comfortable and surrounded by diverse and understanding  people. So I hope to keep posting and start trying to be me again. So hello to those of you kind enough to read this and I hope to start posting in my usual way again. I may be in pieces but hopefully I can start to put them into a new beautiful picture, a mosaic if you like -cracked but just about holding together. x

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Rolling my Eyes

I have been in quite a bit pain the past few days (the cold definitely does not help!) but managed to get to the local corner shop today. Even that short trip was quite painful but it was worth it as on the magazine rack was the March 15 issue of Elle Magazine (UK) and free with that addition was the ‘Global Exclusive’ of Benefit’s new mascara Roller Lash. I love Benefit’s products so was super excited – it’s always fun trying something new.

At this point I think I might explain one of the few hurdles I have to wearing make-up. One of my chronic conditions is Sjogren’s syndrome, it is probably not as widely known as the others I have (only one person I have met has ever heard of it before I had it). It’s an auto-immune condition that attacks the body’s ability to provide moisture to parts of the body, e.g. saliva and tears. It is tear production that affects me the most in that I have zero tear production – I have no tears. When I cry I look ridiculous, I make all the sounds and go through all the motions except that I can’t shed one single tear. Whilst the no tears crying is bizarre lack of water in the eyes is incredibly irritating, makes my eyes vulnerable to infection and incredibly sore. This makes my eyes really sensitive. So far I have only managed to find two make-up brand’s mascara’s that I can use without irritation, one is BareMinerals and the other is Benefit.

I’ve had a quick try of the Roller Lash but I haven’t worn it all day yet. It seems to focus on curling the lashes, according to the description on the box, and it certainly does! There would be no need for eyelash curlers when using this mascara. It managed to curl my lashes up high enough for my lashes to touch my eyebrow when my eyes were open. The curl on the lashes when using this product is amazing but unfortunately it does little to thicken them. I have problems with the volume in my lashes as due to the irritation I rub my eye lots and with they’ve been thinner since the conditions started (could be coincidence?) so this wouldn’t address that problem of mine. The Roller Lash is also not waterproof which means I can’t use my eye-drops when wearing it, I should be using them at least four times a day…but it’s just so inconvenient that I often fall short of that target. However, there is certainly no denying that the mascara curls like a ‘good’n’ (sorry, English vernacular – ‘good one’)!

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It’s all about the base

I’m a firm believer that the best base for make-up is good skin but good skin is so hard to achieve when you’re sick, tired and being pumped with various medications, which for a quite a few of us is a daily occurrence. I had no real interest in skin care, no routine other than soap and water (soap? – I know!) but that changed when my symptoms started when I was 20 years old. My skin came out in rashes and became super-sensitive to even the lightest of touch. My skin was extremely dry and very flaky especially on my face. Make-up only accentuated the dryness and my confidence was punctured by it all. Suddenly I cared about skincare because I had to.

Being a practitioner in the belief that knowledge is power I set about to find help. I tried different things, from premium beauty to high-street chemists but nothing worked they either stung the skin, dried it out or made it too greasy. I researched what I could online but only became more confused. I could never work out what type of skin I had as my skin had multiple personalities so finding the right products was nigh impossible. Then I came across QVC and Liz Earle’s Cleanse and Polish, a product that literally saved my skin. I was ambivalent about trying it at first as being a newbie to the beauty world I hadn’t heard of Liz Earle but feeling secure in QVC’s incredible 30 day money back guarantee (even if you’ve used it!) I took a chance.

Cleanse and Polish suits all skin types so whatever mood my skin happened to be in it adapted to it. It was gorgeous and so gentle to use and because you use a damp cloth it was something I could even use myself if I was stuck in bed provided my Mum had wet it for me in the first place. When I went into hospital it was the first thing I asked Mum to bring in from home when I was taken in as an emergency admission (at 11 pm) and it was comforting to know that I had it with me to soothe my skin (a bit of calm amidst the turmoil of hospital).

Cleanse and polish made and continues to make my skin clear and stable which makes the use of serums and moisturisers more effective, it also made it possible for me to wear makeup again. So whilst I still get some Lupus rash it doesn’t show or feel anything like it was. Good skin like many things starts with a clean slate.

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Unsung hero product – Nails

When it comes to the wonderful world of nail’s nearly all the focus is on the polish. This hardly surprising as you would rightly say that the polish was the whole point, it’s what we see and others admire but inevitably there comes a time when what goes on must come off. It is this removal stage that often gets neglected yet it’s a quite important part of the process as a good remover can help nourish your nails and take off the polish without causing any damage or staining which keeps your nails looking good when you go for a new colour or finish, they clean up mistakes with an aid of a cotton bud and a remover that works quickly and without mess means we can enjoy different looks easily. By making anything easy and fuss free means we keep enjoying the process and as such do it more. A good remover enables our nail polish addiction to be fed.

I was asked through a friend how I managed doing my nails even though I have Lupus. A girl had told my friend that she used to love having her nails done but due to touch sensitivities she couldn’t bear or manage the scrubbing action to remove the polish. My answer was nail remover pots. They are not a new product, they’ve been around sometime, but it seems some people don’t know that they exist. Remover pots take the fuss and effort out of removal and Nails Inc.’s and Leighton Denny’s in particular have essential oils that are kind on sensitive skins and Bourjois’s, though not as gentle in the smell department, does both toes and fingers. Remover pots may just turn out to enable some people to come back to the wonderful world of nail polish. They may just be someone’s beauty hero.

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The little things that add up

I started my nail collection when I first got sick and had to move back home. I was housebound for 90 per cent of the time and I didn’t have the strength to do anything with my hair and my skin was to sensitive for makeup so I focused on my nails cheering myself up with colours and textures and its something you can take your time over and do in bed. Also the one plus point about not being able to do anything is that there is nothing you can break a nail on. I think it’s testament to how long I’ve been sick to how many polishes I have but sick or not there’s many a harmless joy to be had in those colourful bottles.

Too many bottles?… Never!

Nails Inc.

Ciate

Leighton Denny

Hello!

A new year still brings forward challenges from the last but as is most things in life they can be endured with a heavy dose of attitude. My name is Lore and I love to create. I love to create almost anything – even the odd argument [but shush!]. I love to write and adore my pets (Elliot, Keats and Bronte). I also have three chronic conditions; Lupus (SLE), Sjogren’s Syndrome, Fibromyalgia. My conditions make a ‘normal’ life impossible but I still foolishly and with much pain try to keep up with the ‘normals’. But why am I struggling to accept that I am ‘different’? Probably because the weird stuff I do is not cute, kooky or gloriously eccentric but just plain weird.

The ‘grey fog’ that broods in my brain and takes over my body makes me look  like an extra from the Dawn of the Dead and causes me to have panic attacks in a supermarket as I cannot process choices and follow the procedures of basic everyday tasks. Supermarkets are particularly distressing, as in an absolutely unfathomable way, I cannot face the freezer aisles. As I approach the chilled section I can feel my bones tighten and muscles twitch as the stark change in temperature convinces my freak of a body that it is not in Morrisons, England but base camp in the Antarctic and by the time I make it to the freezer aisle I am in agony. The freezer aisle makes me physically sick! Weird huh? That damn ‘fibro fog’ also makes this girl not understand left from right, unable even to follow the simplest form of conversation that polite society is formed on – the weather! “Horrible weather isn’t it? “Is it?” “Rain again” “Rain? It’s raining?…Why am I at a bus stop? I’m sure I came in a car…didn’t I?.. What did I come out for?.. Rain! You were saying…?”.

The fog (at least I hope it’s the fog) makes me think that my bedroom is the kitchen and that the bedside cabinet is the fridge. The fog is also why some people look at me agog as I’m struggling to join up the words that are scattered in my head. People look as tortured as I feel as my responses to them are laboured and have a long delay. I may as well be on another planet, messages take a long time in arriving and meanings get lost in translation and I already feel that I wasn’t quite built for this world. So if I cannot fit myself to this world I will set about creating a new one.

I have got a little carried away. Apologies. I hope not to take up too much space moaning and share more frivolous things such as my  beauty product hoarding and all those pretty things in life that I cling to to brighten up the fog and distract from the thunder and lightening of the other symptoms.