N:Rem Foam Topper Review.

“I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company. “

I was really lucky to have the opportunity to review the N:rem foam mattress topper (https://www.nremsleepsystem.co.uk) Just a quick note before I continue with my review, these toppers are no longer available. The topper was sent to me to review what the mattress would be like.

I actually needed a mattress topper because the mattress I was supplied with was hard and made my pain worse so thank you to (https://www.nremsleepsystem.co.uk) for giving me this opportunity and also to Julie from Chronic Illness Bloggers who does a fantastic job at organising everything.

I had tried a few shop bought mattress toppers and had no luck with comfort, reduced pain or improved sleep. What I really liked about this product is that you can tailor it to your needs and it can be easily changed by moving the cubes around. It comes with 3 different types of foam cubes – firm, medium, and soft. You get a certain amount of all three in your mattress, and then you adjust the cubes into whatever set up you need, based on where you get pain etc. The different set ups for the pain is shown in the information leaflet you get. I am using a single topper but the mattress comes in single adjustable, single, double, king, and super king. As the cubes can be freely moved around, if you had a double bed it would be possible to set each side of the mattress according to the set up each person wanted/needed, eg hip pain, back pain etc.

I did find the cubes pretty awkward to get them to fit together nicely and needed my carers help, but that could just be due to my limited mobility. I do find that I have to readjust the cubes every week or so because they tend to move around, however, again, I’m putting that down to me as I am in an electric bed and have to adjust the head and feet part throughout the day. To readjust it only takes two minutes and I don’t have to be off the mattress, so I don’t find it’s a big deal.  It does say in the information that the mattress should be flipped every 6 weeks to get the most use out of it without wearing it down unevenly. swapping the cubes around like this does take up some room and I find it easier to do on the floor, but it is definitely worth doing.

Honestly, this product is so comfortable! I can’t say that my sleep has improved, but I have found that my pain isn’t half as awful in the morning as it used to be, and I’m not as stiff. I have seen an improvement in my back pain (which is what my cubes are currently positioned for) and I do find that it is really supportive. As I mentioned a minute ago I have an electric bed, and was cautious to use this as I wasn’t sure if it would work. Luckily the topper works fine with it and it’s so much better than the mattress I was supplied with my electric bed. I have however, had to take away my mattress and use this topper as the only mattress  – but this has worked out perfectly for me.

I will also like to note that if you are interested in this mattress, they do offer a payment plan for £1 a night (£30 a month.) You can try the mattress in your home for 100 days and if you’re not happy at the end of that, then you can return the product and receive a refund. Personally, I am very pleased with this product and have a much more comfortable place to rest because of it.

 

TheraSpecs Review.

“I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers Network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company. “

Thank you to Thera Specs (https://www.theraspecs.com/shop/) for giving me this opportunity to review their product. I have suffered with migraines for quite a few years although I have only recently been diagnosed. Along with the migraines, I also struggle with light sensitivity which obviously makes the migraines worse. When I found out TheraSpecs were going to send me these glasses, I was really excited to see if they made a difference to my life. I’m pleased to be able to say  I wasn’t disappointed.

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I was sent a link to their website  and was told which glasses I could choose from. Even though I was only looking at the indoor only glasses, I still had a few options to choose from with different styles/shapes. Once I had chosen the pair I wanted, the delivery was quick and easy (even coming from America to the UK). I was quite worried that I’d look a little daft wearing them as the lenses are tinted and so make them look like sunglasses, however upon receiving them I found them to look quite stylish (to me anyway!) and so I didn’t feel embarrassed about wearing them in supermarkets etc. When I first put the glasses on at home, I immediately felt that they were very comfortable. I wear prescription glasses for reading etc and compared to them the TheraSpecs glasses are a lot more comfortable to wear, therefore meaning I can wear them for a longer period of time than my reading glasses without them becoming irritating. As with all glasses (I think!) they did eventually start to bother my nose but this was after many hours wearing them – which is not needed often – and taking them off for a short while – something like 10 minutes – solved this problem. I also noticed how super lightweight they are, which is brilliant as I do forget that I’m wearing them sometimes. Obviously, if I am not noticing them on my face then they are not falling off my face! This just saves a lot of bother having to adjust them every two minutes. I was lucky that when my glasses arrived they were already a perfect fit for me, however, the information leaflet I got with the glasses said that they can be adjusted easily by bending the ends to fit around your ear better. I have tried bending mine and it really is that easy! Because the ends are adjustable they are made from what feels like rubber, this again adds to the comfort compared with plastic on other glasses that go around the ears.

One thing I often struggle with, which regularly was enough to cause me a migraine is the lights in supermarkets. I have always found them to be extra bright. Wearing the TheraSpecs glasses has definitely helped this, meaning I can now take time to look around shops properly and with less stress, knowing that It won’t cause a migraine. I also use the glasses whilst at my computer which has really helped as I can now do more – whether that’s writing a blog post, catching up with the news, or doing uni work! I also tried them at the cinema and managed to get through the whole film and leave with a mini migraine which was a lot more tolerable than it could have been.

The TheraSpecs website does offer outdoor only, and combination glasses along with the indoor only which I have. They also offer an option for prescription glasses if that is something that you would need. Overall I have found these glasses to be very helpful in many situations. While my migraines are not gone completely, these glasses do significantly reduce the frequency and intensity of my migraines, making them a ‘must have’ for me. They have surpassed all expectations I had before I received them, and I am still amazed at how something so simple and small as a pair of glasses can make such a big difference to my life. It is definitely something that I would repurchase in the future.

Writing with a Chronic Illness.

I’m a writer. I love to write, i’m always tapping out or scribbling down something. I write poems, short stories, blog posts and bits of anything that comes into my mind. My dream is to write a book and have it published. I dream of walking into my favourite bookstore and seeing it on the shelves with all the other books I love to read. But writing with a Chronic illness is hard work, really hard work and it’s so frustrating it makes me want to scream.

Being a good writer means discipline. It means having the motivation to write every single day but it’s hard to do that when you feel like your brain is on fire. The words get jumbled inside my head and I can’t find the words I want to say. I get frustrated alot and my plans for different projects have to put back to the side so I can rest and come back to it later.

Writing is my passion. It always has been. It saved me from a lot when I was a child. When i was scared or alone or hurt, I’d grab out my pens and pad and start writing a story and I’d disappear into this make believe land that I created myself. I’d write about things that were so far from reality that I’d disappear into this fantasy land and I’d only come back when I was happy again. I dont remember any of those stories anymore, all my old pads were burnt when I left home. I wish I had them now so I could look back on them and realise how far I have actually have come with my writing skills. I do get so down on myself and tell myself that I’m a terrible writer and i’ll never write anything good enough that people will like reading.

Being a good writer takes time and practice and the only way to improve is to write. A lot of my writing today looks like a child has took to the page and attempted to write an adult story. Maybe that’s just how I perceive it and maybe I’d just been too down on myself.

Put together the brain fog from my chronic illness and my terrible procrastination skills and you will find out that not a lot of writing gets done on my end anymore. That frustrates me to no end because writing is my passion, it’s my hobby and it’s my dream to write a book that people will actually enjoy reading. I used to be able to write page after page before I got unwell, whether it was in my journal of writing bits of my book.

Some of my achievements I will mention as not to be so down on myself. But I have kept this blog and my book review blog running for over 6 months and that does make me proud. This blog is focused on chronic illness awareness and my health journey. And my book blog, I talk all things books. Because if you know me, you will know that I love to read. Reading has also been another one of the things that saved me from so much hurt as a child.

Tell me your experiences with writing in the comments, whether you have a chronic illness or not. Any tips will definetly be appreciated because I need to get my book out there. I would love to hear from writers who are published or not published. I would love to connect with some of you out there! Follow me on my social media links and come and chat to me about writing or books or just general life.

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Book Review Blog.

– Charleigh.

How Anxiety Affects My Life.

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 I have suffered with anxiety for many years. It’s something that cripples me and seriously affects my day to day life. I hid my mental health problems for many years, I refused to acknowledge there was a problem, I did everything I could to hide it. Everything always comes to the surface though, you can’t bottle things up forever.

So now I’m speaking up. I started this blog in the hopes to educate people on the different aspects of my life. If I can educate one person on anxiety or PTSD or FND. If I can teach a friend or a mother or a teacher or even a doctor on how mental and physical illness affect someone on a day to day basic. If I can help someone to understand what maybe one of their loved ones is experiencing then this blog will have served it’s purpose.

Anxiety can affect anyone and at any age and you don’t have to have had anything traumatic happen to you.
It can strike even the most confident person. It can stop you from working, socialising and going to school.
It’s a lot more than ‘just being shy’. Everyone’s experiences with anxiety are different. Not everyone with anxiety suffer with panic attacks. It isn’t always seen. I can only speak about my experience with anxiety. My anxiety will be completely different to the next person.

My anxiety stems from my past. I am open that I have PTSD, I am however not open about why I have PTSD. Most things I get anxious about have already happened. I panic that history will repeat itself and I get stuck in the same cycle day after day. I am a worrier. I worry about everything. I worry about money, my family and friends, my pets. I worry that people or my pets are going to die or get seriously unwell. I am always worrying about something.

Anxiety makes me feel like I’m walking around the streets with no clothes on. It makes me feel exposed and like everyone is staring at me and plotting to hurt me. It feels like a million thoughts are clouding my vision and my rational mind is buried by all this panic. Public transport panics me, crowded shops and streets, ordering my food at a restaurant, paying for my things at the supermarket. I could go on but we’d be here forever.

They’ll be days when I’ll shut the world out and I won’t want to talk to anyone because I’m terrified of this parasite that’s causing me to panic. That’s what anxiety feels like. It feels like a parasite has attached itself to your thoughts and it’s attacking you, hour after hour, day after day. No matter how hard you try, you can’t get rid of this parasite. It’s decided that your thoughts are it’s new home.

I have good days and bad days. But lately it’s mostly bad days. The memories of my past threaten to suffocate me and the anxiety of it all sometimes gets too much. It’s impossible to know what to do and feeling so trapped and suffocated hurts so much, sometimes I don’t want to be alive. It’s exhausting.

My experience will be different to the next persons. Everyone’s anxiety affects them in different ways. Some people can’t out alone, some people can’t use public transport. Anxiety is a little demon that sits on your shoulder and whispers things in your ear. You try so hard to ignore it but it’s hard to think rationally when your mind is filled with panic.

It’s terrifying and isolating. I get so angry when someone doesn’t understand or disregards it as being ‘lazy’ or ‘anti social’ or even stupid. It’s not any of those things. I think some people think like this because they haven’t been educated about anxiety, they maybe don’t know what it is or understand that it’s an illness that needs to be treated just like a broken leg would. So many people across the world suffer from this horrible illness.

You can’t always see that someone is anxious. Sometimes you might not even know unless they tell you.

Anxiety ruins lives and isolates so many people. It’s a real illness and it can be very hard for people to live their lives in the way they want to.

Anxiety isn’t something you can just switch off whenever you feel like it. It’s always there, it’s always controlling you. Anxiety is real.

Learning to Say No and Other Musings.

Lately, I’ve been thinking what I want to do with this blog. My main focus is raising awareness and trying to educate people on my chronic illnesses and life as a chronically ill person. And hopefully learning things myself along the way.

 

Update.

I haven’t done an update for a while so I’ll get that out the way first. Things have been pretty crappy to be honest. I have FINALLY moved house which feels amazing. I was living in a first floor flat and when I lost the partial use of my legs last May, I had to bum shuffle up and down the stairs whenever I wanted to go out. The flat was not accessible in the slightest and it was honestly awful – absolutely awful and so disheartening. My housing association left me waiting there for 7 months. 7 MONTHS. Which I think is absolutely disgusting and I dread to think how many other people are out there in the world in my situation – or worse.

So at the end of January, I lost the complete use of my legs and what I mean by that is I can’t move them at all now unless I physically pick them up and move them. It’s awful and so heartbreaking and not knowing how my condition might progress is so scary. I am going to do a post on my main chronic illness FND soon so watch out for that. I saw occupational therapy last month and they have given me some equipment which is really helping me.

I finally have an appointment with the specalist I mentioned a few months ago. It’s in London so it is going to a trek but if it gives me some small grain of hope then it will all be worth it. It’s just a pain that I have to wait until July BUT I am just so grateful that he is actually going to see me. I’m also on the waiting list to see the neuropsychologist for my NEAD.

I think I’ve probably covered everything health wise. I’m just trying to keep busy and distract myself and doing little bits here and there to try and help me feel a bit better about myself.

Learning to say no.

If you know me, you will probably know that I am absolutely terrible at saying no. I hate letting people down and I hate admitting to myself that I’m not able to do everything I used to be able to do. I also hate saying no to myself. If I have a mental note that I have to do things then I hate not completing them. But I am learning and I am trying to say no more often. I’m trying to pace myself and listen to my body – something I never really was able to do before. I am quite lucky in the sense that most of my friends have chronic illnesses themselves so they understand if I don’t reply to their message straight away (or at all) or if I can’t do something. My best friend understands that I’m not able to do something we have planned or help around the house.

I really do try to think positive and focus on the things that I can do rather than what I can’t. It’s not always easy and sometimes I just need to wallow in self pity.

I think that’s all I have to say at the moment. I am trying to grow this blog and raise awareness – and doing my favourite thing, writing. I want this to be a place that people can relate to my posts and maybe learn a thing or two. If there’s anything you would like to see please let me know.

Well if you’ve made it to the end of this post – well done you! ☺

Come and find me.

You can contact me here; charleighsbooknook@hotmail.com

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So You Want An Eating Disorder?

This may contain content including pictures that may upset some people.

Eating disorders kill, that is a fact. They destroy your body and take your sanity down with it.

I was only young when I stopped eating. I remember being in primary school watching my friends eat their lunches while I ate an apple. I’d sit in my classes and stare off into the distance, my stomach cramping from hunger. Increased arguments with my mother when I wouldn’t eat the half raw chicken nuggets she was trying to force me to eat.

When I was 16 I moved into my dad’s house and that’s when things took a turn for the worse. My dad worked shifts so I was alone in the house a lot of the time. My weight started to drop and I started taking laxatives.

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I didn’t think things could get any worse but they did. At 18 years old, I moved into my own flat. I was scared and I was alone. I didn’t have a reason to live. I didn’t see the point so I decided to starve myself to death. But my body fought back and I started binging on anything I could find. And then I’d lean over the toilet and throw up until I spat blood.

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Eating disorders are not fun.
They are not cool, pretty or stylish.

Your organs will shut down one by one, your heart will fail.
You’ll wake up in the morning and there will be clumps of hair on your pillow. Your teeth will become so yellow and rotted from all that throwing up. Your periods will stop so you might not be able to have children. You will be so cold that you will be sat in a fluffy jumper in summer. You will grow extra hair on your body to keep warm.

Do you know what it’s like to have your 70 year old nan begging on her hands and knees for you to eat?
Do you know what it’s like to hear your best friend say “I thought you were gone this time.”
Do you know what it’s like to hear your 8 year old little brother asking you why you’re not eating christmas dinner?

Oh but you will. Eating disorders rip lives apart. They destroy your relationships with the people you love. You won’t care that your lying to people about why your not eating because you’ll have a little voice in your head telling you it’s okay and that it’s what you need to do.

Do you know how much self hatred it takes to starve yourself? To lean over a toilet and stick your fingers down your throat and not stop until you see blood. To take handfuls of diet pills, water pills and laxatives a day?

Do you know how unwell you will feel at 3 in the morning when you can’t sleep because your body is crying out with hungry? When your crawling on your hands and knees into the kitchen and shovelling food into your mouth until you throw up.

Do you know how much willpower it takes to keep running when your legs are shaking and your head is spinning but you can’t stop until you’ve burnt all the food off?

So yes. When I see people telling others HOW to make themselves throw up. When I see 12 year olds asking how to become anorexic and GROWN adults telling them what to do. How to hide it from their families and telling them that they can’t eat otherwise they will be seen as weak.

Yes I will report them. Yes I will get angry and defensive because my eating disorder nearly killed me and it’s taken so many beautiful people I’ve known.

Eating disorders are ILLNESSES not lifestyles. They are not something to aspire to. If you wanna live your life that way then fine but don’t encourage others to do the same.

Dear My 18 Year Old Self

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Dear Charleigh,
I know things are tough, I know big changes are coming up.
You’ve been moved out into the big wide world, away from the safety of the refuge.

Your with a guy that you don’t really love, and who is messing with your head, who repeats to you that the devil is watching.

It breaks my heart.
I want to tell you that bad things are going to happen again, that everything will crumble around you.

I want to warn you of the upcoming battles, I want to tell you not to push everyone away again.
I want to tell you to be careful who you trust, I want to make you promise that you will speak out and not be afraid,
because your an adult now and your not in the refuge anymore, nobody is looking out for you,
Your on your own.

The guy you fell for, the one you looked to for safety and love, will hurt you in so many ways.
He will not respect your space and boundaries, and he will threaten you and scare you into doing things you don’t want to do,
he will keep a surprise in your draw, and try to get you into trouble.
The police will be called and your house will be searched.

Don’t push people away,
It’s okay to lean on people for support.

When all that’s over and he’s moved back to his parents, you will think everything is okay and you can carry on.
But it won’t be that easy.
Things will seem impossible, and you will do anything you can to block the pain out.
You will continue to isolate yourself,
and depend more on the online world you’ve joined.
You will lock yourself in your flat, hardly seeing anybody from the outside world,
You won’t leave the safety of your box bedroom and you’ll spend everyday there, scared to leave.

You will obsess over weight loss and will do anything you can to become your definition of perfect.
I would tell you that perfect is not attainable and it will destroy you.
You will take handfuls of water pills, laxatives, diet pills and restrict your intake until your barely eating anything.
I would tell you it’s not worth it and to get out again while you can.

You will lay in your bed at night unable to sleep, you will cry with loneliness.
I will tell you not to get involved with that girl, that she will tip you over the edge, that you will try to end your life again.

You will end up in a psychiatric hospital, but you don’t belong there, but still you are and you hold onto the safety that is there.

I would warn you not to trust your nan and that your mother will find out where you are.

Then after 2 months locked away, you have no other choice but to go back to the refuge.

Months go by and your still so terrified, you feel lost in the world.
Soon it will be time to move on again and you will be at a loss for where to go.

You will be left with hardly any options, you have 2 weeks to find somewhere else and your petrified.

I would tell you it’s okay and that there not against you, I would tell you not to take those pills and that it’s ok to be scared to move on.

But you probably wouldn’t listen because your scared and fear does strange things to people.

You’ll end up in a hospital again with no recollection of your actions.
You’ll feel even more stupid and lost and it won’t change what’s upcoming.

You still need to move on, you still need to go out into the big scary world.
You will move back into the flat that broke you except this time you decide to do it right, to do it properly.

You fight against the lie that giving up is the way, you buy things you need and everything is okay for a little while.

I would tell you that things will get bad again.

Eating will be scary and life will be scary.
You will run away and try to find something that confirms your real, you will take another overdose.

You will scream at them to let you home but they put you in hospital anyway and your devastated.

You will feel that the police have betrayed you and they do because they tell your dad that your in hospital.
You haven’t spoken to him or mom in months.

You try to fight them away, I would tell you not to trust dad, I would beg you not to let him in again.
That it will all go wrong but It will feel like the right thing to do.
It will feel amazing and right and good but it’s not.

He will come to see you a few times and you will think he’s changed and it will feel euphoric.

Soon he takes you out and about, he says he will help you make your flat a home and starts decorating and finding you things you need.

You stay with him for overnight leave and you realise that he hasn’t changed, he’s still the same old drunk he always was.

The hurtful word piercing man he was before, the blows to your chest are the same as before, the bruises are still the same as before.

You go back to the hospital where you lie in your room, burying your head in books and deciding not to trust anyone ever again.
It’s not safe and it’s not worth it.

You get discharged and hide away in your flat, ignoring everyone, missing your appointments and not caring.

I would tell you to stop isolating yourself, to let people in, let people help
but I am you, and I know you wouldn’t listen.

But then someone will come along
and make everything okay again.
You will learn to trust this one person
and you’ll let them in.

Things will get better,
things won’t be perfect and they’ll still be nights you lie in bed and contemplate if life is worth living.
The voices will still dominate your mind
but you won’t be alone,
you’ll have someone in your corner, fighting with you.

I would tell you to stay.

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