Emily’s Declassified Holiday Survival Guide (for Spoonies!)

I think we can all agree that preparing for the holidays can be pretty stressful…

You have to scavenge Pinterest for  decorating ideas, find a Christmas tree, fight off other shoppers at the mall, buy the right presents, nab the perfect dress, stress about your waistline, mentally prepare to deal with your extended family, and make sure your outside Christmas light show gives the Jones’ down the street a run for their money.

You have to do all this and work a job and take care of the little rugrats and maintain your own sanity. It’s a lot of work.

But now imagine that you have to do all these things but you have no energy, you’re in pain, and you’re (most likely) broke as a joke.

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5 Ways Chronic Pain differs from “Regular” Pain

There are so many  chronic pain conditions out there that I can’t even name half of them.

From MS to Lupus, cancer, chronic migraine, fibromyalgia, arthritis, CPRS, EDS,  neuropathy, trigeminal neuralgia, lung diseases, ankylosing spondylitis, Lyme disease, ulcerative colitis, IBS, pelvic pain syndromes, and the list goes on.

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What is Dysautonomia? (living with a wonky nervous system)

Are you yearnin’ for some learnin’ about another invisible illness? If so, grab yourself a  a Gatorade and a packet of salt and let’s dive right into this!

Note: If that snack doesn’t sound appetizing to you then you probably aren’t familiar dysautonomia, but keep reading if you want in on the scoop…

What is dysautonomia?

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Are doctors sexist? (Exploring the phenomenon of the young, sick female)

Before I launch into this post, I’d like to thank all the gracious, intelligent, and hard-working practitioners who have helped me over the years. You have not gone unnoticed or unappreciated!


Have you ever cringed at one of those “Lyrica” commercials that make fibromyalgia look like a total joke? You can just see it now…the sad music plays in the background as some pitiful-looking middle aged lady rubs her arm in mild pain and gently sighs.

That poor commercial-lady has come down with a bad case of “bored housewife syndrome.” Or at least that’s what they make it look like.

Terms like “chronic fatigue syndrome” translates to a lot of people (including doctors) as “lazy person syndrome.” When in reality, misunderstood and poorly-named conditions like chronic fatigue can be life changing and downright disabling in many cases.

When was the last time you heard of a man being diagnosed with one of these dinky conditions like “chronic fatigue syndrome” or “fibromyalgia”? Women have got to be making this stuff up, right? Or at least exaggerating their symptoms…right?!

This is absolutely not to shame or overlook men with these types of chronic diseases (in truth, I feel great empathy for chronically ill guys who feel weak and emasculated because of it).

But the point is: women are disproportionately struck by the more under-researched chronic illnesses and our medical system is not equipped to deal with them. The result? Women getting shamed, blamed, and shrugged off at the doctor’s office.

As a young woman who grew up with several chronic, mystery illnesses, I’ve had my fair share of doctors look down their noses at me in disbelief as I rattled of a 3-page list of symptoms. Over the years I’ve noticed that young females, in particular, tend to have their health problems chalked up to one of several specific issues: eating disorders, stress, anxiety, and “women’s issues” (aka. periods and pregnancy). And if their health struggles don’t fall into one of those categories then they are often told that their symptoms are psychiatric or somatic in nature.

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Brain Fog: 4 Ways it Messes with Your Life

What is brain fog?

A prime example of brain fog is writing up an entire blog post and realizing that you’ve actually written Brian frog over ten times (thank goodness for proofreading)!

“Brian frog”

But really, brain fog (also known as “brain fatigue”) is an symptom that many chronic illness warriors deal with on a daily basis. If you’re a healthy person then you may have  experienced this state of “brain peanut-butter” in your 7AM biology class if you didn’t have time to grab your morning coffee.

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Am I lying on Social Media? (the truth about the life behind the photographs)

Ah, yes, social media…the most defining and polarizing invention of my generation. For better or worse, social media is a part of our daily (if not hourly) lives. Instagram, my personal favorite social media tool, is a home to cat memes, gym-spiration, and snapshots into the lives of loved ones.

Let’s take a look at a few of the pros and cons of social media from a Spoonie’s perspective, including the answer to your burning question…are Spoonies lying on Instagram?

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Insomnia Hacks Part 2

Let’s face it, humans have a hard time sleeping these days. This post is the sequel to my first article on sleep, “Why Can’t I Sleep? (Insomnia Hacks Part 1).” If you haven’t read it, I’d check that out first to get your primed and ready. It covers circadian rhythms, sleep schedules, blue light exposure, and environmental factors that contribute to insomnia. As a Spoonie, I struggle with both getting to sleep and staying asleep, but I’ve discovered some gems along the way that help me minimize my sleep struggles. Without further ado, here are a few more insomnia hacks…

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