Struggling with Storms but hoping for a Rainbow…

Well, today marks the start of a brand new start month.  The start of something new – whether it be a new day, month or year.  It is like a fresh, white piece of paper, in which the past and everything that has come before is forgotten and instead we are allowed to start afresh.  To start our story anew.  It opens up new possibilities and opportunities and allows us the hope for a better today and tomorrow (and beyond).


And this is most important when living with a long-term health condition.  To live with illness everyday is most difficult; and perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of living with a chronic illness, is the unpredictability of it and the unknown of what each new day will bring.  Even with every little sign of illness such as a headache, for example brings the fear of the start of new symptoms or even the possibility of a deterioration in our illness narrative.  Therefore, hope is a vital thread for us to hold onto as it allows the possibility of a life without chronic illness and our lives dictated to by our symptoms.

During the recent weeks since by last blog post, I have been trying to remember these points.

As much as I have been trying to remain positive and to hold onto the invisible thread of ‘hope’, I however have been living with the storm clouds above my head.  Just before the beginning of 2015, I had the hope that this will be a really good year.  Don’t get me wrong, I do not have the irrational belief that I would miraculously be cured during the coming year, but as I had a few good weeks before Christmas, I did have the hope however that it would be the year that my symptoms would not deteriorate and I would experience a decline in the severity of my symptoms.


It would seem that this particular thread of hope has unravelled.

In fact these past few weeks has been the hardest weeks that I have experienced in relation to my chronic illness for a long time.  It often feels that my body is taken a severe battering from all of my symptoms.  The dizziness has been so severe, that even doing the simplest things extremely difficult.  The trembling and weakness in the legs has also been very severe, that as my legs are feeling extremely jelly-like, that recently I have lost all confidence in being able to visit our local town centre and walking around the shops.  Using my wheelchair is obviously one option, however due to the severe dizziness and the constant perceived motion that I am experiencing, it would make me feel even worse.

Everyday of late has felt like an uphill battle from the moment I get up out of bed until I go to bed later that day.  Because of the severity of the dizziness, nausea, weakness as well as the increased levels in fatigue, has meant that I often just want to go to bed and burrow myself under my covers and stay there for the forseeable future.  However, I have not given into my longings and have been pushing myself to still going out, although am finding my trips out have been considerably shorter than previous months.

During my last post, I discussed the feelings of loneliness and isolation that can often accompany chronic illness, and during this recent battle these feelings have unfortunately only increased.  Perhaps one of the main reasons is not letting anyone in my close circle of friends and family know just how bad things have gotten.  Of those who are in my close circle of confidants, I have tried reaching out, not getting an immediate response when I actually in need of someone.  This has often only increased the feelings of depression.  Often thoughts of whether I am liked within my circle friends often follow, stupid I know but perhaps illustrates how difficult things have gotten recently.

I am trying to think of some ways to widen my social life, and perhaps make way for new friends, perhaps even considering the social network Meet Up and setting up a group for those like me who are living with a chronic illness or disability and who are also socially isolated because of it, just a thought in progress at this stage but would love to hear your thoughts and whether anyone has had any success with the site.

At the moment I am dealing with dark storm clouds still have hope of the appearance of a bright and beautiful rainbow in the hopefully not so distant future…



The sound of illness is often silence…

When living with a chronic illness, any chronic illness there are of course many symptoms that we are forced to live with as a consequence.  Both physical and psychological effects of living with a long-term health condition such as the neurological condition that I live with everyday.  Perhaps one of the most significant and common psychological repercussions of living with a chronic illness, which is not always discussed is loneliness.

Loneliness is often discussed in relation to the elderly.  It is often seen as a consequence of getting older.  However, loneliness is a feeling that can strike at any age and whatever the personal circumstances of the individual concerned.  In my personal experience, through personal experience and with engaging with those within the chronic illness and the ‘spoonie’ community, loneliness can also be very much evident when living with chronic illness.  Not only is loneliness is felt in terms of living with a chronic illness itself, in the feeling that no else understands what it is like with living with such an illness. However, loneliness can also manifest itself in the physical sense – the lack of company.  One often consequence of being diagnosed with a chronic illness, is that friends can disappear from our lives.  Many cannot handle seeing a friend being in pain, or cannot understand when plans are often cancelled due to the onset of debilitating symptoms.  Living with chronic illness can often result in many hours spent alone in our homes.  Hours spent lying in bed or on a comfortable sofa.  Hours spent binge-watching boxsets, often because a lack of other options and to fill the deafening silence that surrounds us.

Bank Holidays are a time where loneliness and isolation feels more evident when living with chronic illness

Holidays are a time where loneliness and isolation feels more evident when living with chronic illness

Being alone is something that I routinely have to deal with as my parents are often working and have few friends living nearby that have the time to visit and keep me company on those days in which my symptoms are particularly bad.  It was on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day this year however, the feeling of loneliness and isolation was particularly evident.  Like previous years, I celebrated the start of New Year alone, whilst my parents were sleeping upstairs (both were unfortunately started work early the next day) and as I had no contact with anybody and no-one had bothered to phone or text me to wish me a Happy New Year the feelings of loneliness were exacerbated. I felt jealous whilst watching the live New Year celebrations on television and seeing those people who were friends and family for the night meant for celebration, whilst I was sat on my own.  The first day of a brand new year also started on my own in an empty house with only a dog whose only interest was sleeping.  As cards drove onto our street and emptied with the arrival of visitors to other houses in my street, I  felt even more alone and felt incredibly low.

It’s frustrating living with a neurological condition like mine.  Due to the symptoms which are particularly debilitating such as the dizziness and weakness in the legs (which are unpredictable and it’s not known when they may give way), I am not able to get out of the house alone.  Therefore, as a result it makes it even more difficult to be able to go out and make new friends.  It’s as if my neurological condition has torn down bridges between myself and the life that I want to lead, and instead has built a wall around me, trapping and confining me.


It is of course, easy to make online friends or even penpals which I have been trying as a way to quench my thirst for human interaction and companionship.  These are great substitutes and an easy way to make new friends, but I still crave face-to-face interaction with someone around my own age over a cup of hot chocolate.  Isn’t that we all want in life?  Plenty of friends that we can count on during the good and bad times in our lives?  How to achieve that when living with an illness that prevents you from leaving the house unaided is still a huge question that remains.

Although that I hope to gain new friends during the coming year, and hoping that I will have people to celebrate the start of 2016 with…

Reflecting on one year and looking forward to the next…

Well, here we are – New Year’s Eve.  A time where we reflect on the past year that has just gone whilst looking forward to the new incoming year and all the possibilities that it could bring.

This time of year always seems significant as it offers hope and endless possibilities.  It tells us that although our year has been full of highs and lows, it allows us to celebrate the fact that we have survived another year.  It feels that we are on the precipice of change.  It’s funny though really isn’t it?  I mean as significant and exciting it is that we end one year and at the beginning of another, it really is just another day on our calendar.  And although we often feel that the new year brings about change and new possibilities; nothing really changes (apart from the hanging of a new calendar on our walls).

The days after Christmas allows us to sit down and contemplate the year that has passed.  To celebrate the triumphs of our years and to dwell on the things that didn’t go well or those which we weren’t expecting.  It is a time to reflect on everything that has happened and to make plans for the new year (for me this includes a trip to Bath and another cruise!).  We mark the occasion by making New Year’s Resolutions; a list of things that we hope to change or what we want to achieve during the next 365 days.  Social Media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, even join in these celebrations by creating a review of everything we have contributed to our timelines.

I remember an old tradition that my Mum told me, and one which my great-grandmother used to do every year – this old tradition saw people opening their front and back doors as a way of letting out the old year and to bring in the new.  A beautiful tradition that offers everything that the new year is all about – the celebration of the old, and looking forward to the future.


But however exciting and wonderous the prospect of a new year brings, it is not always the case when living with a chronic illness.

Although the new year offers celebration of getting through a year living with debilitating symptoms, endless hospital appointments and many days lying in bed, it can also be a time of great anxiety.

As many look forward to the new year and everything that it could possibly offer, we spoonies wonder what the next year will bring.  What questions will be answered with upcoming hospital appointments?  Whether new symptoms will present themselves?  If there will be a deterioration in our health within the next 365 days.  Yes, we contemplate everything non-health related too, but when living with chronic illness everyday, it is hard not to first think about our long-term health conditions when it is such a time to reflect and contemplate the end of one year, and the prospect of the start of a new one.

Personally, for me although this past year has seen many changes in terms of my own neurological condition; most of which are not for the good with the deterioration of many of my symptoms, there were however many highlights and positives that have happened during 2014, including:

  • Visiting new places
  • Being able to shop in Next for the first tine in years
  • Our cruise (although there were still many tough days, the experience of the trip was positives in many ways)
  • Meeting new people and making new penpals
  • Writing for a digital publication for those living with chronic illnesses
  • Being interviewed for a pharmaceutical magazine as a patient and my views on healthcare (it was lovely for someone to take an interest in my opinions)
  • Meeting my new neurologist who actively listens and interested in my opinions and those of my parents

Those were just some of the positive experiences that has made up my year during 2014.  And hoping that there are many more during 2015!!

I hope that when you are sitting and contemplating your year during the last 365 days there are many good points to take away.  And what’s more, I sincerely hope each and every one of you reading this has an amazing New Year’s Eve and that 2015 is a magical and wonderful year for you!



Christmas Analogy for Spoonies…

Once again it’s the most wonderful time of the year; and like the Christmases that have come before, we again have been inundated with various iconography associated with Christmas.  Images such as Father Christmas, snow and christmas trees adorn popular decorations and greeting cards meant for the holidays.

However, in my opinion there is one particular image that is often associated with the Christmas season, which is a perfect representation of those living with chronic illnesses.  And what is the images?

It’s the snowflake!


It’s well-known that no two snowflakes are alike.  Each one is completely individual and unique – much like us spoonies.  Not only are we individual, just like everyone else with differing interests and personalities, but also fits in with living with a chronic illness.  Just as we are unique and individual, our chronic conditions and the way they manifest itself are just as unique.  This can be especially true with neurological disorders like mine as well as conditions such as MS and myasthenia gravis (which are both known as a ‘snowflake disease’) because there are so many differing symptoms and no two patients are likely to exhibit the same set of symptoms.

Snowflakes as well as being unique and individual, are also beautiful – just like the spoonies that I have had the pleasure of coming into contact with through my blog or my other social media sites.  It is said that snowflakes are fragile, but when one or more snowflakes stick together they actually become stronger.  During my journey living with this neurological condition, I have learnt many lessons, and one such lesson that chronic illness has taught me that there is certainly strength in numbers.  On the days that my body has felt weak and fragile, and feeling that the hope that helps me through is diminishing, it is messages of support from fellow chronically ill people that really helps me through the dark days and gives me the strength to fight my symptoms and continue to live despite the often debilitating symptoms.

Recently, the symptoms that I live with on a daily basis such as the pain and trembling in the legs, the dizziness, fatigue and weakness have been particularly debilitating, and as a result I have been experiencing mild symptoms of depression that I often find accompanies periods of ill-health such as these.  Part of these low moods, I have also found myself, often comparing myself to others, particularly family and those friends who are close in age to myself, and feeling particularly different to everyone else.  And not in a good way.

However, snowflakes, and what they stand for can teach us that it is okay to be different from everybody else.  It teaches us that being individual and unique are in actual fact a good thing and, it is these differences that sets us apart from anybody else, and what makes us special.

Therefore, perhaps when we know someone (particularly a fellow spoonie) who is struggling, and are feeling upset because of something which is affecting them and setting them apart, then maybe we should send them a card or a little present depicting a snowflake to remind them just how beautiful, special and unique they really are – and that being different is more than okay.


Not only a beautiful piece of jewellery but a perfect gift for anyone who is struggling with being different…


Spread a little magic…

Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most
– Ruth Carter Stapleton

Well, the Christmas season is nearly upon us and now is the time to start buying gifts for all your loved ones.  Of course, gifts can be bought and given at Christmas or birthdays – gifts are really lovely gestures for when a loved one or good friend is struggling due to personal circumstances.  One example, of course being when suffering a chronic illness.  When living with a chronic illness, we often experience both good and bad times due to our chronic illnesses, and when experiencing lows, I know due to personal experience that receiving a card or small present can bring a little sunshine to dark days as well as the pleasure in knowing that someone has thought of us, despite the overwhelming feelings of loneliness and isolation that can accompany life with a long-term health condition (especially one which results in the majority of days being spent in the house).

As it is the time of giving and thinking of others, I thought I would share some gifts that I have come across that someone going through a difficult time might appreciate, or is ideal for someone living with a chronic illness like myself!  And perhaps think about those who are experiencing difficult times presently and maybe think about sending them a card and a little something to remind them that they are not alone and that you are thinking of them.  It doesn’t even have to break the bank either – you could even try making a card instead of buying one, and if creative even make a present!

A friend of mine was going through a difficult time recently, and as funds were tight, I made her a little gift instead.  I took an old jar and cleaned it up, and thanks to my computer I printed lots of different positive and inspirational quotes I loved then cut them out and rolled each separate quote up, tied a ribbon around them and placed them in the jar.  I even attached a homemade label and called it a ‘Positivity Jar’ and wrote to take one out of the jar whenever feeling sad and low.  It was such a simple idea but my friend really loved and appreciated the thought, and even has it sitting on her dressing table and uses it whenever her bad days present themselves.  Other homemade presents might also include making a special playlist downloaded to a CD full of uplifting and positive songs to cheer them up during the bad days.  And if you are stuck for ideas there always lots of inspiration on Pinterest.

But here are some other lovely gift ideas for fellow spoonies…

Positive and Uplifting Gift Ideas 

It is common amongst the spoonie community to share through social media, positive and inspiring quotes – little mantras that help us stay positive and happy despite all of the limitations and constraints that our conditions places upon our lives.  It is these little mantras that help us and others who are going through a difficult time so what better present than one which provides positivity and inspiration to serve as encouragement to continue and persevere when the going gets tough.

My favourite online store for such inspiring and positive gifts has to be the Itty Bitty Book Company.  They are a small ethical and super friendly business based in Belfast, Ireland and offer a wide range of inspirational and positive gifts from cute badges to their gorgeous ‘Itty Bitty’ Books. In the books range are 3 different books offering inspiring quotes for Motivation, Positivity or Strength and in my opinion it is these Itty Bitty Book of Positivity and the Itty Bitty Book of Strength are ideal gifts for someone struggling with chronic illness or generally are experiencing a difficult time in their life.  I have all 3 of their gorgeous and handmade books and as they are small they are ideal to carry in your bag, and to read the lovely quotes and mantras when life gets tough wherever you are.

One of their beautiful prints would also be an ideal gift for any spoonie, and there are a number of different quotes on offer and if one of them has a favourite quote of theirs, even better.  They can easily be framed and placed in clear view of a bed or sofa; wherever they spend the majority of their time because of chronic illness, for example.  Or perhaps one of their cute little badges that can brighten dark winter coats or woolly hats, and are ideal gifts for a low-budget.  And they even offer inspiring greeting cards too which are blank so ideal when wanting to write a personal message inside.

To see the full range of products on offer, or to buy something for a friend (or yourself) you can check out their Etsy store here

Useful Gifts

From personal experience, I know that receiving gifts that have a useful purpose (such as a hot water bottle for example because of problems with feeling cold) can mean so much as it shows that someone as it not only shows that someone has thought of you, but also that they really care and therefore want to give you something that will make you feel better.  This can include a little comfort box filled with goodies such as a favourite type of tea, thick socks, body products and some sweets or chocolate.  For ready-made boxes that you can send with a variety of products that you can personalise for the person you are buying for, then I can recommend the ethical company Healing Boxes that make and send Healing Boxes especially for those experiencing chronic illness, or just experiencing difficulties in their life.  Lovely gifts on offer and a great way to show someone that you care.


I can also recommend The Pillow Fort shop for fun and useful gifts for someone living with a chronic illness.  Examples of products on offer include cosy socks (for those with poor circulation and as a result suffer from cold feet perhaps), pill boxes (useful item that is a must for any spoonie as it helps to remember if you have taken medication or not!), cosy and cuddly soft toys that can be heated in the microwave (fun alternative to a hot water bottle as it is more comforting and just fun!).  And there are plenty more ideas and inspiration for useful gifts for the spoonie in your life!

Special Gifts 

Sometimes if we are able to  or the person is very close to us we like to give them a very special gift, which is especially true at Christmas for example.  One special gift for example is jewellery and I have come across some lovely pieces online.  Examples include some jewellery even inspired by the positive and uplifting quotes that we love,  I even own a pair of earrings, which are in the shape of rain drops and  a matching necklace in the design of a cloud with a rain drop attached and with these pieces of jewellery came a card with my favourite quote “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain.”  I even have this card in my purse to remind myself that if I am experiencing debilitating symptoms when I am out that things will get better.  There are plenty of other pieces inspired by uplifting quotes on offer here.

Whenever we put a piece of jewellery on or look down and see it on display it can be a lovely reminder to remain hopeful during difficult times.  The online store Not on the High Street has a beautiful swallow necklace (bracelet and earrings are also available) for example which symbolises freedom and hope for example.  Another online retailer Lily Charmed even offers various items of jewellery than can even be personalised with a message of your choice on the card inside of the box.   I particularly love their spoon necklace which every spoonie will be able to relate to and love.  The snowflake may also be a nice charm to give as a reminder that the receiver is beautiful, special and unique as chronic illness can be difficult to live with, as well as often making you feel extremely different from your peers.

Other Gifts 

Other ideas for gifts which could be useful for someone living with a chronic illness might include:

  • Stationary – great idea for those who love writing and even if they don’t it might encourage them to start doing so as it can be very cathartic
  • Pyjamas – a must-have for any spoonie as we often crave comfort when we are feeling bad and pyjamas are the best type of clothing to offer this (that and perhaps onesies!)
  • Adult Colouring-in books – apparently these are very therapeutic for those experiencing depression and can perhaps offer similar benefits for those with chronic pain, as it could be a form of distraction
  • Gift card for iTunes or Google Play – these are especially great for those who love TV programmes or films as they can buy something to film to purchase to keep them company when stuck at home for example
  • Book – ideal for book lovers like myself!  Perhaps give them a book that they wouldn’t normally read
  • LED string lights – I love these as it gives any room a magical look and will help cheer a person who may be stuck in bed due to illness

So those are some of my top tips for lovely gifts for someone experiencing difficulties as a result of a chronic illness for example.

So perhaps think of those experiencing a difficult time this Christmas that will put a smile on their face and yours and let us all sprinkle a little magic this Christmas (and throughout the year!).

I have recently started a board on my Pinterest page called ‘Spoonie Gift Ideas‘  which has more ideas on special and thoughtful gifts for anyone going through difficult times because of a chronic illness.  Of course, if you have any other suggestions on what to pin then please feel free to get in touch on the blog or my pages on social media.

Let me know of any good deeds that you have done recently or throughout this holiday season and if you have bought something special for any other spoonies this Christmas.

Alone in an invisible world…

This post is for a competition run by an organisation called Labs* by One Squat Shop together with health activist Megan Densmore.  Megan has organised a team of film-makers to make a documentary, called Invisible which highlights and raises awareness of invisible health conditions.  Lindsay Tabas of One Squat Shop has teamed up with Megan and with designer Mat Poirot have produced a limited edition t-shirt which together with the film highlights and makes people aware of the invisible symptoms that people with chronic health conditions suffer but cannot convey to others.  The competition is for one blogger (and one lucky reader) to win a copy of the film and t-shirt (or tank top for women). 

The prompt for the blog post is:

What does the t-shirt design mean to you? How does it make you feel? What does it tell people without invisible illnesses about your experience? How do you hope this will help awareness?


The word invisible conveys so many images and messages.  The definition states, that invisible is something that is “not visible, withdrawn from or ought of sight or something that is not perceptible by the eye.”  When I was much younger at secondary school, I thought I knew the meaning of the word as I felt completely invisible to the rest of my peers due to being continually ignored and much time spent on my own due to being ostracised.  However, after living many years with a long-term health condition in which the symptoms that I live with are hidden and cannot be seen by others, I now truly know the meaning of the word.

In many ways, living with an invisible health condition, such as the neurological condition which I live with, is like living inside a bubble of which you are the only one aware of its existence.  You are unable to convey symptoms such as pain, dizziness and fatigue to those closes around you, as they are subjective and is not perceptible by anyone else.  And as those closest around you, as well as society in general are not aware of the symptoms that are ruling our lives, those with invisible chronic health conditions are very often met with suspicion and as a result people can often expect more of us than we are capable of due to ill-health.

As a result therefore, there needs to be much more awareness of invisible illnesses and the debilitating effect that they can have on the individual living with a chronic illness.  There have been fantastic awareness weeks that have been established on the internet and through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, which to some extent have raised the awareness of such conditions.  However, there could be an argument that there needs to be more done to raise awareness of invisible chronic conditions away from the internet and more emphasis for the wider society in general.  In the UK, for example, popular soap operas have been very valuable in raising awareness of a wide variety of subject matter such as HIV, domestic violence as well as raising awareness of medical conditions, many being invisible such as MS and ME as examples.


This is why this tank top design may be another excellent tool to raise the profile and awareness of such illnesses.  The image above shows the very eye-catching design and for those without any knowledge of such conditions it may raise important questions in their mind regarding the meaning of the design, and as the wearer of the tank top is asked about the t-shirt, it therefore allows a lesson of these prevalent invisible chronic conditions.  For me the tank top is a great talking point for anyone not touched by invisible illnesses such as lupus, MS or fibromyalgia as examples.   Also, I am sure you would agree the tank top is also very clever with the design including the lungs as it reflects the idea of everyone being able to see inside our bodies, which in reality of course they aren’t.  For anyone living with an invisible illness, we often wish that everyone around us were able to see inside our bodies; to see the damage and signs of our conditions that only exist inside of us, and to allow friends and family to visibly see the struggles and pain that are a result of our invisible illness.  This tank top for me is an excellent representation of the unseen and invisible struggles that I carry around with me all the time, just as the lungs that are inside of me.  And for me it does all this without being rude or condescending; it is a fun and fashionable way to raise awareness.  As I live with mobility problems, as well as pain and other symptoms which are constant, these of course does not define the person that I am and for me the design perfectly reflects this – our bodies, whether healthy or crippled by illness is a reflection of ourselves, and does not define us as individuals.

I hope that the tank top design will remind individuals to not judge individuals by what they can see on the outside, but be mindful of the person beneath the surface and to be aware of the possible struggles that someone might be living with, which cannot be seen.

Here’s a 5 minute teaser for the film ‘Invisible

As ever, would love to hear all of your thoughts regarding the subject of this particular blog post.  What are your thoughts regarding the t-shirt design?


Reasons for loving Winter

When you think of Winter which words and image are conjured up in your mind?  For many, if asked they would answer with images such as the nights drawing in during the early evening, heavy rain lashing against the windows and the sound of the howling wind outside, and those fighting against the constant outbreaks of colds and flu.  These myriad of some of the images synonymous with winter, paints a pretty miserable picture, especially when juxtaposed with images of summer such as the bright, warm sunshine, colourful and vibrant flowers and so on.  Whereas, Winter is seen as a time to dread, Summer is a time where everything feels alive and happy; a time of endless possibilities.  Winter is truly the most cruel and relentless of the seasons

It is only the start of the autumn and winter seasons, and already, I have heard many people complaining and griping because of the cold, wet weather.  For those suffering with chronic pain like me, Winter can also be a difficult time as the very cold temperatures can exponentially increase the amount of pain experienced.  In my experience of living with spastic paraparesis (causing stiffness and weakness in the legs) the bitter cold weather and constant downpour of rain increases the level of stiffness and weakness that I experience, thereby increasing my pain levels.  During previous years, the increases in the experience of pain, stiffness and weakness, has left me reliant on my wheelchair for the majority of the time when out of the house.

Winter weather can often exacerbate symptoms especially pain

Winter weather can often exacerbate symptoms especially pain

There are steps that I, and others  living with a chronic illness  and chronic pain during the winter months.  These can include wearing thermals underneath warm clothing in order to lessen the effects of the cold temperatures on our personal chronic pain.  Hot water bottles, warm blankets, and snuggly pyjamas are also fantastic at helping us keep warm when in the safety of our own homes.  Although these steps can help us with the physical pain associated with our long-term conditions, they however do not lessen the emotional impact that the winter has on our psychological wellbeing.  Many people experience some form of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) a form of depression associated with the reduced exposure to sunlight.  Light therapy which involves sitting in front or beneath a light box, as well as more conventional treatments for depression including cognitive behavioural therapy and sometimes antidepressants.

Winter can be a miserable time for many...and not a good time for those with chronic illness

Winter can be a miserable time for many…and not a good time for those with chronic illness – Pinterest

I have talked about positive psychology before in terms of helping cope with living with a long-term health condition.  One example of an exercise that is recommended within the field of positive psychology is keeping a gratitude journal.  A gratitude journal encourages individuals to write down at least three things that have made them grateful and happy on that particular day.   Research suggests that by doing this, it can change the brain’s thought processes and can even result in more positive thinking patterns.,  Therefore, in order to be more positive and happier during the winter months, despite the miserable weather perhaps we need to remind ourselves of the positive aspects of winter, and also to think of the reasons we should love winter.

So what are some of the reasons we should love winter?

The cold and wet weather during the winter months provide the ideal opportunity to stay indoors – this is the same for most people regardless of whether they live with a chronic illness or not.  I know for me personally when I tell others that I want nothing more than to stay indoors and lay down is met with surprise and disbelief during the summer.   Instead of respecting my wishes, I am barraged with well-meaning encouragement to venture outside for fresh air, which is made to sound like a miracle cure for all my ills.  In the winter on the other hand, friends and family are not surprised or even comment on my love of staying indoors beneath a warm blanket and enjoying a box-set binge, as let’s face it everybody wants nothing more than do the same when the bad weather hits.  As well as being not judged for spending so much time indoors, I also feel that during the winter I am more likely not to feel envious or that I have missed out on anything fun as friends and family are also spending the majority of the time at home in the warm and dry watching the new series of television programmes that tend to start when the weather starts to deteriorate.  Recently some of my favourite television programmes have returned for the new Autumn schedule such as Grey’s Anatomy and Criminal Minds.

Nothing more enjoyable than wrapping up warm during the cold winter weather or sit in front of a fireplace (if able)

Nothing more enjoyable than wrapping up warm during the cold winter weather or sit in front of a fireplace (if able) – Pinterest

Winter provides us with the perfect excuse to stay indoors and curl up with a thick blanket and a mug of delicious hot chocolate with marshmallows.  It furthermore provides us with the perfect opportunity to enjoy a riveting book; watch a film that you might never have otherwise watched via Netflix.  In other words, winter can provide us with the unique opportunity to bask in the enjoyment of being able to appreciate the little things that provide us with comfort and joy whilst also protecting ourselves from the atrocious weather.  Whereas summer is all about fast pace and cramming as much fun in as possible, winter is far more relaxed and allows us to savour each moment.

A mug of hot chocolate is so comforting during winter - always make time when out shopping!

A mug of hot chocolate is so comforting during winter – always make time when out shopping!

I also love going to bed during the winter months and getting beneath my delectably thick winter duvet.  For me this duvet is comforting, especially when feeling the effects of chronic illness.  Our winter wardrobes are also another wonderful aspect to enjoy during the cold and dreary months; to feel snuggly and safe beneath layers of warm layers of clothing such as big thick jumpers, woolly scarves and hats and thick socks when venturing outdoors.  I own a pair of Ugg boots which I constantly wear through the autumn and winter as they are so comfortable and also keep my feet incredibly warm and are one piece that are among my favourite items in my wardrobe and boots that I am often complimented on when out which makes me feel good about myself.

My ever so warm and snuggly ugg boots!!

My ever so warm and snuggly ugg boots!!

A further reason to love winter is the food!  Winter food provides comfort during the cold months.  Mince pies, apple pies, pumpkin pies and other seasonal treats that appear in the supermarkets are just begging to be served warm with cream or custard.  Winter vegetables can be roasted or used as ingredients for bowls of steaming and comforting soups or even baked into delectable pies. Chilly evenings also provides the perfect pretext to enjoy a steaming mug of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and marshmallows or alternatively sprinkles of cocoa powder.  And if the weather is keeping you indoors, there is plenty of time to put everything you have learnt from The Great British Bake Off  (or other such cookery programmes!) into practice by baking cakes, assembling a gingerbread house or experimenting with the abundance of seasonal recipes that you have always wanted to try out but never found the time.

Lastly, the most important reason to love the winter season is all the exciting events that occur during this time. Halloween, Bonfire Night and everyone’s favourite Christmas!  These events provide excitement and wonder, as well as the opportunity to come together with family and friends whom we may not have seen for some time.  It is hard to dislike Bonfire Night for example, as throughout the country beautiful, colourful and vibrant lights are seen decorating the dark night skies.  Even if we are out of spoons or too unwell to attend a local fireworks display, it does not mean that we have to miss out on everything, as we can still enjoy firework from the comfort of our own homes, which I often do.

Doesn't everything look pretty and magical with fairy lights during the winter months?

Doesn’t everything look pretty and magical with fairy lights during the winter months? – Pinterest

Throughout November and December hangs the air of excitement and wonder as Christmas approaches.  Houses, shops and town centres are illuminated with colourful lights and vibrant decorations which looks beautiful and cheery against the dark and dreary winter nights.  Furthermore, with Christmas also brings a collection of wonderful food, heart-warming and cheerful family films, television specials, festive events and activities, jolly festive music as well as time spent with loved ones exchanging presents.  It is true that with Christmas also brings a lot of activities that can deplete the number of limited spoons but in my opinion it is worth it for the happiness and the formation of happy memories that Christmas brings.

What are your personal reasons for loving winter?  You can contact me via Twitter using @serenebutterfly or sending me an email at  Or comment below…