Monday, 24 February 2014

Everyone's talking about benefits

Benefits have been dominating the media lately. Partly in response response to a controversial program called Benefits Street that has sparked interest from all over the globe. Then there are other sensationalist headlines such as benefits making people obese. The show focused on a few families and individuals that live on the same street in Birmingham, here in the UK, where the majority of residents clam benefits of some kind. The controversy has mainly surrounded the fact that most of the footage showed the claimants being idle or committing fellonies. Creating major sensationalism and much branding benefits claimants by the images shown on the t.v. A far cry from the true picture of those that need to use the welfare state for additional support. So today's post is all about addressing what the welfare state does/is and try and dissipate any generalisations about claimants.

First of all, what is a welfare state? There are many different welfare state, each according to individual countries. This post will mostly be referring to the welfare state here in Britain. However te concept of a welfare state is the government distributing money, mostly raised by national insurance contributions in latter times, into areas that will benefit its citizens. For example healthcare, education, old age pensions, which were introduced in 1908. In 1942, during the Second World War, the Beveridge report produced by liberal economist Sir William Beveridge to quote Wikipedia (yes I know, naughty, naughty, how very unacademic of me):

'Proposed a series of measures to aid those who were most in need of help or in poverty and recommended that the government find ways of tackling what it called "the five giants", namely; want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness. It urged the government to take steps to provide citizens with adequate income, adequate health care, adequate education,adequate housing and adequate employment, proposing that "All people of working age should pay a weekly National Insurance Contribution. In return, benefits would be paid to people who were sick, unemployed, retired or widowed.'

It is as a result of this that we get free medical treatment through the NHS, which although we often moan about I'm sure the majority of us are extremely grateful for. After the war the government introduced child benefits to help families afford to have children and in turn increase the country's depleated population. Council houses were also a means for couples to be able to afford housing and a place to raise their children.

So far the picture is of a concern to benefit the country's residents, with many acts being passed by the government to restore the country. To look after the sick for free, to provide for widows, to house the population in better and more affordable housing, rebuilding where many bombings had destroyed homes; to provide child benefit to help raise children and to provide them with free education. Whilst workers recieved sick pay, injury insurance and pensions. Things that to us, in this day and age, take for granted and perhaps would not class as benefits.

The welfare state must adjust and adapt with the times, concerning itself with the key issues facing society and deciphering how best to benefit it's residents in the current circumstances. However as we see now, our benefits system seems to be in uproar. With more money needed in the NHS, and the high levels of unemployment.

I believe a common argument regarding today's welfare state is who we all class as being in need of benefits. Well the answer is; all of us. The majority of us rely on the NHS, unless we have private medical insurance; and is that not a benefit? It is funded through the tax system aferall. Haven't most of us been educated for free? Aren't parents, regardless of their circumstances grateful for child benefits to help them navigate the ever increasing financial minefield that is raising children? Will those fortunate enough to reach state pension age be grateful for extra help towards the bills?

The major catcall being "why should I work so that others do not have to?" A notion that stems from the national insurance contributions funding benefits. These allegations are accelerated by programs such as Benefit's Street, that show claimants that may appear able to work being idle all day, often drinking and smoking as well. Well first of all this is not strictly true as the majority percentage of these funds goes towards pensions. Job Seekers Allowance, which is what claimants that are out of work but are able to work claim, makes up a much smaller percentage and is not enough for a claimant to live on long term. 

Those unable to work, in the majority of cases genuinely cannot do so but would most probably love to be working, rather than needing to claim DLA, PIP or ESA. And believe you me the actual process of trying to get onto these is rigourous. Again, it is only the negative and controversial cases though that tend to be picked up by the media, stigmatizing all claimants. People that know how to "milk the system" as it were.

All this being said, there are clearly many flaws with the current welfare state. Just take all the horrific stories you hear about disabled people that clearly are unable to work, that fail to get benefits that are left in poverty and worsening conditions. Surely these are some of the most in need people in society. It shouldn't be more financially sensible to not work and remain on benefits so that you have a higher income. That is nonsense. There are people working all kinds of hours, even with multiple jobs to try and earn enough to live comfortabley off. We also hear of the increase in use of food banks. In many areas there is a lack of social housing, unable to meet the huge demand for them. A problem highligjted by the introduction of bedroom tax, as there are no smaller houses available to move to. So claimants are being penalised for a problem that is beyond their control.

A follow up program on Benefits Street showed that the original show had not highlighted some of the key issues that prevented some residents entering the job market. A young couple struggled because of learning difficulties and poor levels of reading and writing. Indicating a problem with the education system; that many school leavers regardless of learning difficulties, dyslexia etc are not leaving with the skills needed to enter the job market. These are the people that  need more attention or better direction to help find a skill. Otherwise when they are competing against more educated and qualified graduates it lowers their chances even more.

Then there is a huge shortage of jobs. There seems to be very little job security anymore. Every week the news seems to show yet more companies, many of which are well known, either going into administration or making redundancies. Creating a mass of people all competing for the same few jobs in the same area. Causing many problems, inparticular for those with families and people nearing pension age.

I intend to do a seperate post about disability benefits. However I hope this post has helped to dispell some of the myths surrounding benefits and to prove that it is not a dirty word or shaming, as many claimants are made to feel. I do believe that the current welfare state here in the UK needs a radical shake up, but that is the responsibility of the government; not those on more benefits or those that do not realise that we are all benefits recipients in the original state of the word. 




Monday, 10 February 2014

Justice for Karina Hansen

In my last few posts I've spoken about various charity work and the different projects that are happening to raise money for research as well as greater awareness of M.E. I have also spoken before about the difficulty that we face as a patient group that want to raise awareness but are limited by the very condition that we want to be made more public knowledge. We can't run marathons or climb mountains, many of us can't even leave our beds. And yet right now there is a story that is making us wish that we could fight and breaks our hearts that we cannot do more about.

That story is that of Karina Hansen, a 25 year old Danish woman with severe M.E that has been incarcerated against her will and that of her parents, whom she made power of attorney when her condition began to deteriorate. She has been confined to a mental health unit and today, February 12th, marks one year since she was admitted. Horrific does not even begin to describe the emotions that this story conjures up. Honestly it's often too upsetting to even think about, but I am making a conscious effort to share her story and do what I can through this blog to raise awareness.

She is commited there as the Danish medics that are responsible for her care, and oh how ironic that word is, believe that M.E is a psychological illness. Infact although Karina has been diagnosed with M.E by a number of experts, having developed the condition when she was 16, medics at the centre have denounced that diagnosis, saying that people that believe in the existence of M.E are "imbeciles". They have given her the diagnosis of PAWS, Pervasive Arousal Withdrawal Syndrome, which was known as PRS, Persistent Refusal Syndrome. As the name suggests the condition is characterized by a refusal to do things, refusing to do anything for yourself. Withdrawing from society, refusing to eat or talk. It is a rare psychological condition, mainly affecting children. Where they completely withdraw themselves. In that sense it can be seen why Karina or other sufferers of severe M.E that withdraw due to exhaustion, pain and hypersensitivities can be believed by psychiatrists to be experiencing PAWS. Our need to protect ourselves and avoidance of exacerbating our symptoms being misunderstood by those that don't believe in the condition. All too often M.E sufferers are branded lazy, work shy or benefit scroungers when in actuality we long to be out living full lives. A diagnosis of PAWS can mean that everytime a patient goes to protect themselves from a symptom it is taken away. For example if you request ear defenders to help block out the sounds that are making your body visibley shake it is not granted because it's seen as a method of withdrawal. Exposing the patient to more than their bodies can handle and causing more harm. This is an example that can be seen in a video I have linked to later on in the post.

Everyday Karina is subjected to Graded Excercise Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, even though there are numerous studies that prove that GET is harmful to patients. Excercise makes us worse, due to post exertion malaise. How sufferers can even be expected to excercise when just lifting their head is a struggle is absurd. And CBT only has so much of an effect, mostly in patients with a more moderate form of the disease. Patients with severe M.E do not have the brain function for basic concentration and activity let alone trying to redirect their thoughts. Severe M.E, although again varying between patients, can mean intolerance to light, sound and touch as well as extreme fatigue, pain and post exertion malaise. At it's very worst patients cannot speak or be aware of their surroundings. I myself am at the severe end of the spectrum at the moment but it is scary to think how much worse it could be. Here is a website that you can download a copy of the severity scale from the Association for young people with M.E.  http://www.ayme.org.uk/functional-ability-scale

Holly a campaigner for Karina and one of the managers of the site Justice for Karina, wrote an article on Prohealth, which can be viewed here. In it she describes how Karina's parents when not attentively caring for her spent their time in a caravan in the garden to avoid aggravating Karina's oversensitivities. It also tells of that tragic day when Karina was taken by authorities and forcibly removed from her home by doctors and policemen. Her Mum was held back as Karina screamed for help. They searched the house taking photos and seizing all medications and supplements, trying to find evidence of abuse. And left behind only a piece of paper with when they would be in touch and when the family could contact them.

During her first day there it is known that Karina expressed that she did not want to be there, that she was scared and worried about what would happen to her. It is also known that she sent several text messages and made up to 43 phonecalls. The last of which being to the police before her battery died. She has not been allowed to charge her phone since as staff refuse to do this for her. Please read the article for more details and build up to Karina's incarcerration.

Since being in the unit Karina's condition is said to have deteriorated even more. She can no longer summon the energy to speak more than one syllable or to recognise people. And yet she is still subjected to these therapies. They simply cannot see that they are causing her more harm, even though the evidence is clear.

I think what is even more devastating is that her parents and sister are not allowed to see her. Not even at Christmas. They must feel so hopeless. They are told that Karina does not want to see them, when the truth is Karina probably has not understood what was asked and cannot summon the energy to reply. So her parents are told that she does not want to see them, which must be so awful for them to hear. I hope they are reassured that these are yet more fabrications and not the wishes of their daughter. Karina has relied on them for her care and as mentioned given them power of attorney. However since being admitted to the neurocenter the state have appointed her a guardian, that has no knowledge about Karina or M.E and he now has power of attorney. The trust that you have with those that give you care and do so much for you is paramount, and although you cannot always express your gratitude due to illness it does mean the world to you. It brings tears to my eyes to even imagine being stripped of that care and placed in the hands of people that have no belief or compassion for what you are going through. However although they cannot physically be there for her, Karina's parents are working tirelessly to grant their daughters freedom and they have the backing of the M.E community.

Justice for Karina is an organization that are desperately campaigning to try and secure Karina's release. They have discovered that by Danish law and being a member of the EU, Karina is entitled to a second opinion and Dr Nigel Speight a pediatrician and expert in M.E has offered up his services, having been involved in similar cases. Sadly he has been involved in over 30 similar cases. Speight believes that unlesss a firm and believed diagnosis of M.E is given it gives authorities room to question and go so far as to believe that the patient is being harmed, meaning that they can remove the patient from their families and put them into the care that they believe is the right form of treatment. Again completely dismissing that M.E is an illness, let alone a serious one. This has been the case with many child cases, where social services have been told to intervene due to a belief that the condition is a sign of abuse or neglect. Of course the difference with Karina's case is that she is an adult. And it is yet more complicated by the fact that both Karina and her family did everything they could to protect her rights and her health. Please watch this video, which is an interview with Dr Speight, regarding these extraordinary cases and how they come to pass.

Justice for Karina have wrote an open letter to Karina's guardian pleading for him to evaluate Karina's human rights and action this legal information, citing all laws, the existense of M.E and former cases. One of which being that of Sophia Mirza who died as a consequence of the wrong treatment. You can view this letter here.

There is also a ray of hope in that on March 19th the parliment in Denmark there will be a hearing about functional disorders and M.E will be included in this. Karina Hansen's lawyer will also be there to discuss the legal consequence of psychiatric diagnosis.

That this has been allowed to happen in this age is terrible. Especially when it seemed that both Karina and her parents took care to protect her rights as well as manage her condition as best they could. She had been diagnosed with M.E and found to be psychologically able and yet this still happened. It certainly calls for more awareness and understanding of what M.E is and the horrible effect it can have on someone's life as well as those that care for them. That way patients aren't so vulnerable to psychiatric inquisition.

This is part of the reason I started this blog, to raise awareness of M.E and everytime I recieve comments from people that say that my blog has made them aware of M.E it feels like a big achievement. There are many other bloggers out there doing the same, bravely sharing their warts and all stories to show exactly what M.E can do to you. It is a great weapon in our limited aresenal in raising awareness. It is why we are so thankful for any organizations and individuals that are raising money and spreading the word. And with films such as Voices from the shadows and Canary in a Coalmine showing the hidden side to M.E, that more people will know what it is and take it seriously.

I understand that this post may have been difficult to read, believe me it was painful to write, but I appreciate you taking the time to do so. And if you have watched the videos and read the links too, then thank you very much. That way the news about Karina is spreading and there is hope that she will be granted the second opinion.

I only hope that it is and that Karina can return to the loving care of her family. Understandibley this experience will have left an emotional scar on them all but hopefully they will be given the right kind of psychological and emotional help to help them overcome the experience. Although I wouldn't blame them if they are scared to accept any psychological help. The sooner Karina can be reunited with her family and start being cared for in a loving environment the better.

Again thank you for reading. It is greatly appreciated. Thank you also to Holly and Sami for your support in getting this post up and for campaigning vigilently. And once again for writing the prohealth article that helped form this post. You can sign a petition to help grant the 2nd opinion that is so desperately needed to help grant Karina her justice here

You can also follow the campaign's progress on Facebook or Twitter on @Justice4KarinaH or use the hashtag #J4KH. Today I will be changing my profile pictures to a sticker they have made of Karina.

Also you can read Sophia Mirza's story at http://www.sophiaandme.org.uk

Once again thank you for reading and if you can please retweet and share.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

What do you do? - Glam It Up Laurna

As promised today's post is an interview with fellow spoonie and M.E sufferer Laurna, who has started a small business Glam It Up, from home. Links can be found at the end of the post. I first got to know Laurna when she tweeted the ME association about her customized walking sticks. I thought this was a lovely idea with the potential to make sufferers that need walking aids feel a bit more glamorous and less like a little old lady. Along the same principal as me wearing high heels in my wheelchair. Whatever brings a bit of fun and sparkle into the not so glamorous world of chronic illness.

What did you do before you got M.E?

Before M.E I was a figure skater and short track speed skater. I was also studying at college. Age twenty I had an accident on the ice, which caused me to break my spine. Luckily I was able to get back to training but that's when I had another accident and broke a different part of my spine. After that I started to become ill, so ill that I failed my college course and was later diagnosed with M.E. It is 4 years ago since the first accident.

How did you come up with the idea for customizing/ sparklyfying items? And how far into your illness did you start?

When I was skating I used to always decorate my skating dresses, so I've always loved glamming things up. However when I started to need to use a walking stick because of the M.E, I decided to glam that up too. I got lots of compliments on it. I was usually always wearing sparkles of some kind when I was out and about so when I put forward the idea of turning it into a small business people where very supportive and thought it would be a great idea for me. I started up the business roughly a year after being diagnosed.

How has starting Glam It Up helped you?

It's helped me keep busy and helped my concentration, which helps take the focus away from the pain. It's also helped me meet some new people.

How do you manage the illness/ business relationship? For example only working on good days

I  do only work on good days. I used to get stressed out which made things worse for myself and whatever I'm decorating. I decorated a walking stick while on tramadol and it was hilarious, everything all over the place, luckily it was for myself and not for anybody else. There have been times when I've not managed to get things done but people understand and if they have a deadline like a birthday, they ask me way in advance.

What has been your highlight so far from starting Glam It Up?

My highlight so far is probably the amount of people who have helped me spread the word, asking me to do thing for them. Without them I wouldn't be as busy.

Do you have any other hobbies you try to pursue or other crafty things?

I enjoy watching ice hockey and support the Braehead Clan. My boyfriend plays, so he sometimes takes me round on the ice, pulling me around, it's a good feeling. I like baking, so I do that sometimes. Apart from glamming thing's up that's all my hobbies.

Do you have any advise for people that want to turn their crafting hobbies into a small business?

Don't take too much on cause it stresses you and makes everything worse. It only makes you dislike what you do. What you do is fun and that's what it should always feel like.

Any websites or links that you found helpful?

Youtube helped me find the best ways of crystalling stuff. Plus you don't have to get dressed to learn things on Youtube. I also use Facebook and Twitter to help spread the word.

What are your future plans?

My future plans are to keep going with this. Hopefully get more and more orders. I'd love to open a small shop but I worry it might be too much for me. I used to work in Costa and I loved it, so maybe get a few hours back there. Or maybe get back on the ice. There's so many thing's I plan to do or would like to do, so I'll see what the future holds for me.

You can contact Laurna on Twitter at @glamitup_lt or on Facebook at Glam It Up       

A huge thank you to Laurna for letting me interview her. Hope you have enjoyed the interview and the following photos of Laurna's creations.

 I have created a new page on the blog for useful links, including those that were mentioned in my last post. Alternatively you can see them on the blog's Facebook page.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

What's on your bedside table?

I know most people will answer this with a lamp, an alarm clock, mobile,watch and perhaps a book or two. However for the spoonie our bedside tables become hosts to all kind of paraphaneilia to help us through the days and nights. We may not need an alarm clock anymore but there is a whole host of things that we need to have close by. A spoonie toolkit of sorts. So let me talk you through some of the items on my bedside table. I've also posted a photo at the end of the post.

I keep all my bits and pieces in a clear plastic box, £1 from Poundworld, bargain! Other retaillers are of course available. They used to be in my drawer but I can see and reach things much easier in the box and plus drawers can sometimes be diffficult to open on bad days. Everything needs to be as accessible as possible. In the box is:

1) Baby wipes- much needed for help to cool down when I'm a complete sweaty Betty and also for when you can't have a proper wash.

2) Medication- I don't have it all by my bed because sometimes I get confused and also because there are so many that there would be no room for anything else. But I have a few in a pill box.

3) Headphones- I have some over ear ones as they're more comfortable but could probably do with proper ear defenders. These are for days when everything seems really loud and difficult to process or when my neighbours are doing yet more DIY. I have tried ear plugs too, sometimes with the headphones but they seem to make my head pound and pulse really loud in my ears, which is just as horrible

4) Biofreeze Roll on- for muscle aches, especially in the neck and shoulders

5) 4head roll on and tiger balm- extra help for tension headaches.

6) Tissues- the usual reasons, plus cleaning up when shakey hands have left your food/ drink everywhere.

7) Olbas oil- fab for when you have a cold or blocked nose. I like to put a few drops on a tissue and put it under my pillow. Or if I have ear ache rub, some into my ear lobes and jaw.

8) Lavender spray and roll on- good for helping promote calm and sleep. The roll on is again good on your forehead for tension headaches. Just be careful it's not too runny.

9) Mints- Incase any fitties drop by in need of a snog, haha if only. In reality they're good for helping a poorly tummy.

10) Purse- for making online payments etc. Always handy to have it there so you don't have to go searching and wasting energy if you don't have much.

11) Lip balm- some tablets make you really thirsty, which can crack your lips, also occurs from spending a lot of time in bed and feeling run down. I like to use Carmex as it's good for healing the skin and also some good old Vaseline for moisture.

12) Hairbrush and bobbles - well for attempting to make some effort with my hair and tying it back out the way when my temperature soars or I need some roll on on my forehead, neck or shoulders.

13) Pens and paper- you can never find a pen when you need one, so it's good to have some handy along with some paper to write down things to remember incase of brain fog.

14) Straws- always handy for when holding a cup feels to heavy, so you can keep easily hydrated. Yet to experiment with one of those builders hats with the can holders and wiggly straws.

15) Antibacterial hand gel- Stop those nasty lurking bugs and of course great if you can't get back and to from the bathroom and need a commode.

16) Other bits and pieces- I have a pair of scissors and also some sellotape. Scissors are useful for when I have parcels to open ( woo beads!) and I have the sellotape to help when I send parcels of my own.

Of course I also have a lamp. It has an easy to use button on the wire, which is useful for weak days. I always have a drink and a bottle to refill it from, even if I can't always do it myself. Then I have my tablet close by, in the well thing under the drawer, for browsing the internet and blogging. Books or kindle are usually on the unused pillow. You know I love to read. And most importantly my mobile phone, which is my life line. Helping me to communicate with friends and other spoonies online but also to text my parents if I need anything from downstairs and I am stuck, sometimes literally. Another useful tip is to have an extension cable on that level to make it easier to plug things in an out of. Maybe keep your chargers in the drawer. I like to hook the connecting ends of the chargers through the drawer handle so again they're easy to reach and your not flailing about trying to find them.

So there you have my toolkit. My other essential item is of course old faithful, my hot water bottle but that is usually strapped to me somewhere. What do you have on your bedside table as part of your spoonie toolkit?

Best wishes
Sian x

Sunday, 2 February 2014

What do you do? Finding a hobbie

Since my last post I have discovered a new hobbie, or what is fast becoming an obsession and that is jewellery making. I've made a few pairs of earrings so far and attempted a bracelet until my hands shook just as I went to tie it off and all the beads scattered everywhere. I have included some photos at the end of the post. Once again thanks to the spoonie community and the sometimes mad forum that is Twitter it has helped me to discover something new to try, which can be rare when you suffer with a chronic illness. It has also introduced me to a whole community within the spoonie community and that is spoonie crafters. 

I was first introduced to this through a chronic illness website called Pajama Daze @PajamaDaze Www.pajamadaze.com. Sorry about the lack of link, my phone seems to not be giving me that option at the moment. What a fantastic name for a site! As well as a website there is also a blog (available through the website) and lots of really great positive information to help make chronic illness in all it's guises more manageable. Having read the blog and of course guest blogged on there I recently explored the joyful workers page and was truly inspired by the stories of people turning to crafting to help them through their illness. To give themselves a sense of purpose when they felt themselves adrift from who they were. And changing their thought patterns from "I can no longer do" to "but I can do this." They have consciously decided to focus more on the things that they can still do, or discover something new or taken up projects that before they were ill they were too busy to do. To appreciate that they can still do things or learn something despite their illnesses, rather than be weighed down by the gloom of all that they can no longer do. Of course some of this is idealology and there are times when our illness bogs us down but that is only natural. But if you have the ability and opportunity to try something new that's not hindering your illness then it does bring on a sense of being worthwhile (the doing that is, not chronic illness. That is never worthwhile.) 

In particular I was touched by the story of Jo Southall @PurlBeadsJo who suffers from Hyper Mobility Syndrome as well as other illnesses including chronic fatigue. Jo still attends university part time, plays on the universities wheelchair basket ball team and makes some gorgeous jewellery. She is fast becoming a firm spoonie friend too. 

Many of these crafters have started up small businesses from their homes but there is another section to the page too displaying projects that sufferers have completed that are not doing so as a business. Again, they find crafting gives them a new focus and relief from the inevitabe monotony and boredom of everyday life with a chronic illness. Being able to physically see something that you have made can be hugely rewarding.

Twitter has also introduced me to a charity called Invest in Me, @LetsDoit4ME @Invest_in_ME which aims to raise money for biomedical research into M.E. Something many sufferers have been waiting a long time for. And may finally prove all the doubters from within and outside of the medical profession that M.E is a real, physiological illness. To reiterate there is no diagnostic test for M.E, infact many of  the results that we recieve from diagnostic test show up as 'normal', which as a sufferer is incredibley disheartening and demoralizing, because we feel so very far from normal.So this research is very welcome and much needed. 

There are many projects going on to raise funds for this. One big upcoming event is 92 in 92 @92forME. An attempt to visit 92 football grounds across the country in 92 hours. Many of the clubs have been really generous in their support. Offering access into some of the grounds and even memorabilia for a charity auction. Even just a simple retweet from a big club can raise so much awareness, think how many followers those clubs have across the world that will see that tweet.

There are also a number of craft related fund raisers. One in particular is called Make Me Crafts www.makemecrafts.com or on Twitter @MakeMECrafts. It allows crafters, many of whom suffer with M.E to list their creations for sale, free of charge and in their own time. With a percentage of what's made going towards the charity. They also attend craft fairs etc where they have a stall and people can donate items to be sold.

But it's not just about crafting, many sufferers use their creativity in lots of different ways. Such as photography, baking and writing. Starting up blogs to help express themselves. I know so many spoonies that despite their illnesses are still trying to participate in the wider world and try to find new things that they can do, when their health allows. Many are srudying through the open univetsity. Discovering subjects that they have always had an interest in. This to me just shows the bravery and resilience of many sufferers,who despite all they are suffering still fight for a sense of purpose. 

So as well as spending time working on our recoveries there are many sufferers still pursuing new interests and participating in the wider world. Chronic illness can be incredibley lonely and can make you feel worthless so finding a creative outlet can be theraputic and build self esteem. Again it's about focusing on things that you can do, no matter how small or how infrequently you manage to do it. It's not about making a job out of it, which many would argue we should but in using it as a tool to help our mental health in a way. To do when our health allows and not to the detriment of our health. Our health will always take priority. 

In my next post I'm going to introduce you to another M.E sufferer that has utilised creativity to help her cope with her illness. Glam It Up Laurna, for a sneaky peak before hand visit her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/glamitup.lt

When I can I'll also put the links from todays post on a seperate page, seen as my phone won't let me link at the moment. For now though I have earrings to make and more posts to write. 

Do you have a creative outlet? Please comment what you do and how it helps you.