I’ve been practicing setting healthy boundaries for over three years now. Initially, it used to feel scary, the thought of setting boundaries even with your loved ones or those you once loved but over time, I realised that it is okay to feel terrible about it and yet want to draw a line between yourself and anyone else.

It is important to protect your space; both internally and externally. That fear, that terrible feeling which sometimes feels like guilt is usually temporary and when you do in fact start seeing some positive shifts and change from learning to set healthy boundaries, that temporary feeling does disappear. Soon, you experience a very light, freeing feeling. I know this for sure.

I found peace in knowing that I’m doing what I’m doing for my the sake of my well-being and it always seemed worth it.

Setting healthy boundaries in your close and distant relationships is an integral part of self-care. It does not mean that you don’t tend to others. It means that you learn to tend to yourself first. Shifting your focus and attention towards what or who really matter frees up space and energy which can definitely be directed towards other greater things. There were many times in my life when events and situations around me made me feel helpless, as if there was no form of separation between me and others. I found that I was running low on energy for myself and that it was affecting my entire being.

It took me years to learn to set healthy boundaries and say ‘no’, firmly and politely where necessary.

Sometimes I catch myself slipping off my practice as well but I’m quicker to find my space and bring myself to stand my ground. You are allowed to go to any extent to ensure that your peace, solitude and sanity are well taken care of.

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Twenty years

I am filled with so much love and gratitude for this place, it’s hard to even express. And despite the fact that the positive emotions I feel for this place almost equal the negative memories I am still working on letting go, my heart aches knowing that I am leaving a place I called home for the last twenty years.

I made mistakes here.

I experienced pain and suffering here. I was young and naive.

I made friends here. Real friends I’m so grateful to have come across.

I fell in love here.

I spent sleepless nights here. Crying, laughing, secretly believing in fairytales.

I made promises here.

I saw dreams here.

I set goals and achieved them here.

I was betrayed here. By near and dear ones, and by strangers.

I learned to protect myself here.

I was diagnosed here.

I fell apart here. Completely shattered into tiny pieces, I couldn’t myself anymore anymore.

I put back myself back together here.

I faced my very own demons, alone, right here.

I learned to trust again here. Myself and people.

I found my medical team here. My support system, without whom I couldn’t have come this far.

I dared to recreate dreams here.

I learned the art of letting go, here.

I finally found my true voice here.

I learned to speak my truth here and encouraged others to do the same.

I learned to be of support and service to the world, right here too.

I came across my tribe, people like me, right here.

I felt safe here.

This is where I wilted and learned to bloom again. This is where I learned to own my story, fully and wholly.

While I can’t lie that recreating a similar lifestyle and routine else where is going to take time and more patience than ever before, I do genuinely believe that it’s not entirely impossible. Somewhere I trust that the process of wilting and blooming over and over again has equipped me with the ability to deal with uncertainties of all kinds and be okay with not knowing.

You know that feeling when you look back and think perhaps everything happened to prepare you for something that is yet to happen? That’s kind of how I feel right now. As if I have levelled up in this game called life and now need to put my skills and tools to use in order to handle the next level; the next phase. There’s a lot I still don’t know but perhaps I am able to find peace in knowing that I have made it through incredibly painful times before and probably can do so in the future too.

Singapore, thank you for all the blessings and lessons.

Flare up essentials 

 Kittens/puppies
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Dark chocolate

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Warm shower/bath

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Essential oils

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Journal + Pens

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Books

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Flowers

Tea or coffee

 Comfy clothes

Bed with a good mattress

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Pretty nails

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Peace + Quiet

Meditation + Mala

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Good food

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Friends/Family

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Plus of course, all ‘medical essentials’ (long list) depending on your specific condition and symptoms.

सेलfie/LE/

सेलfie/LE/ because, why not. Haven’t gotten a chance to really post much on here as my trip has been rather hectic and I haven’t been feeling too well. It’s my third week of antibiotics and fifth week of stronger muscle relaxants and I wish I could say I was doing better.

Nausea and migraine on top of aches and pains and wobbly joints feels like shit because there’s more that needs to be done over the next few weeks and I’m forced to take things slower yet again. It’s a challenge to be sick and do things ‘normal’ people can so easily manage so I try to break down bigger tasks into smaller, more achievable steps and get through them one thing at a time.

Well, I could’ve been a lot worse at this point, so all in all, I think I’m doing quite okay.

Latest update

Last few days have been so ridiculously exhausting. I spent most part of my birthday and Diwali week just running around hospitals, popping strong anti-inflammatory tablets and muscle relaxants and getting scans and tests to figure out the cause behind this maddening, deep ache in my right lower back, abdomen and hip (I find one-sided aches more challenging to manage).Honest to heaven, I haven’t experienced pain of a similar kind ever before in my last nine years of dealing with ehlers-danlos hypermobility type. This is not to say that I haven’t experienced pain of this intensity; no, I’ve dealt with higher magnitude of pain and much worse symptoms too. It’s just that I can easily and clearly distinguish between my ‘normal’ aches, pains and sensations and this strange, relatively new kind of discomfort, which initially seemed much like a muscle spasm. Let’s hope it’s not something I have to get used to. At this point, there are a few possibilities which we’re trying to explore and nothing can quite be said for sure till next week, sometime after my appointments with the specialists. Last couple of evenings have been just nice, calm and festive at the same time and filled with love and light (apart from food). Also, I’ve got a trip coming up real soon which I’m super excited about! Hopefully I’m healthy enough to travel and get by fairly well! There’s so much happening over the next few months I can’t even begin to explain out here…things are moving and they’re moving fast! I hope everyone’s been good. A very Happy Diwali, all!✨💕

#2013

It’s been four years since this photo and yet I get goosebumps just thinking about where I was at, both physically and mentally.

I was falling #sick with a cold or a stomach flu every other week, reacting to medicines which were supposed to help, afraid to be alone in my own bedroom, finding it hard to eat, needing help to wash my hair and sometimes even to brush my teeth, hating on my body for being fragile and weak, struggling to protect myself from people, fighting with school because they had no policies in place for people with medical issues, crying myself to bed every night, falling asleep with a strange emptiness in my #heart, waking up to feeling suffocated, hating on my creativity because I couldn’t pursue it the way I wanted to, feeling like every day was an absolute drag… I was claustrophobic in my own #body and #mind.

I wonder if this photo says any of that.

2013 was the year I knew I was done with everyone and everything around, including myself. Something needed to shift and I didn’t know what or how. All I knew was that life couldn’t possibly feel the way it did. Despite feeling like a hostage to my own #existence, there was a glimmer of #hope, a constant knowing that nothing was going to change until I decided to step up to where #life was heading. Stepping up at that point meant pausing and for once allowing myself to let it all sink in. Nothing was going to be anything like I had once imagined and I had to come to terms with that. I couldn’t distract or push myself anymore and I felt horrible. Who thinks about pausing/stopping at 23, right?

The thing is, some of us reach a point in our lives when we are faced with circumstances so real we simply can’t look away from them. Greater things are at play and our personal plans and effort make no sense. Life keeps finding ways to force us to look at what’s being presented and leaves us with two choices – to keep #suffering by avoiding pain OR to acknowledge pain and learn to #rise from there. #trust #acceptance #health #mentalhealth #pause #rest #recover

Looking back, I suppose there were things I had in 2013 which lead me to be where I’m at today. The daily struggle and fight have definitely added to all that I have become as a person and in some ways I’m grateful for it (not for the fight but for what came out of it). Of course, gratitude seemed like the last thing on my mind at that point in time because I was in this terribly dark space. Practicing and expressing gratitude, learning to accept whole and broken parts of me and making choices that honour my health (both mental + physical) has taken time and conscious work. I still have rough days but I’ve made peace with the fact that harder days are part and parcel of learning to live with a chronic illness. Today, I know better than ever before that while life is capable of giving you 5 reasons to fear, hate, complain, it will give you at least three reasons to trust, love and grow.

Reminding myself to trust the process, accept where I’m at today which isn’t where I was or where I will be permanently, and take it one day at a time through this significantly transformative period of my life. Transitions are never comfortable but I’ve found more strength in learning to ride the waves rather than just waiting/hoping/praying to get to the other point because quite honestly, you never know how long it can take. There are always lessons to learn if you keep your heart and mind open and there is always a chance for you to let go of the old and evolve. Being here in the now and learning to respond to what is is immensely empowering. You are exactly where you need to be.

Love, Md

Hello there spoonies and other friends!

So while I was off social media, I took some time for myself and made sure I brought my interaction with people to a bare minimum. I met just a few people apart from my pilates instructor, physiotherapist, ayurveda therapist and naturopath but I made sure to look at my phone and laptop less. In fact, I wrote more in my journal and typed less on my phone.

Some of the experiences I had just over this week made me think through a lot about how far I’ve come and how far I’m yet to go. When you really make an effort to disconnect with the noise around you and connect with what is already within, you finally hear the noise within you loud and clear. And if you dig deep enough, and have the courage to dig further, you find that there’s so much wisdom residing in there that you barely ever need to seek answers from outside. A lot of what we need to know, we already do.

So, obviously, I made a list of ten things that came up for me in the course of this one week. I took some time to journal and think through each point even more and I figured I have so much to share and so much to learn at the same time. I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to share this list with everyone but I’ve made up my mind to do it anyway. Who knows, it might resonate with someone out there.

1. Listen more; to your inner wisdom and to those who need to be heard
2. Express more gratitude
3. Have the courage to ASK for your needs to be met
4. Be brave and say ‘NO’ if/when necessary
5. Preserve your energy; it’s everything
6. Reframe your past, refocus on your present and reimagine your future
7. Return to the thoughts of peace, love, health and success
8. Validate yourself for every progress you’ve made
9. Make your own decisions. You know what is best for you.
10. Trust that you will always be supported if you’re willing to jump off the cliff. Keep doing your best and being your best even if you’re at your weakest.

The most important thing I realized was that I NEEDED this time. Unless I make a conscious effort to create a space for myself, I will always be a part of something I don’t need to be a part of. Love, Manasi ❤️ #chronicillness #selfcare