Monday, July 31, 2017

Relax while you work

For many of us with health issues that involve pain, muscle spasms/contractions, fatigue, etc., sitting at a desk and working at the computer is very difficult. You may recall a recent blog I wrote called, Tips to save your neck and back working at the computer. I shared tips for working upright at a desk more easily, but many of us have to lie in bed, on the couch, recliner, or floor at times.

To that end, I mentioned a product called Laptop Laidback that was designed specifically for working on your laptop, tablet, iPad, Kindle, etc., while lying down. Unable to work like we used to and want to, this can make us feel very unproductive. Laptop Laidback helps change all that. Check out the pictures below.





As many of you know from reading my dystonia book, I do a lot of work writing health articles, copywriting/publishing, blogging, and life coaching. While my symptoms from dystonia have improved using a variety of different treatments, I still get worn out from pain, dizziness, and fatigue. When I have a lot of work to do and am too sore or tired to sit at the computer, I will hit the floor and continue working.

I used to prop my laptop on my bent knees, but it caused more strain and tension than I would prefer because I had to reach for the keyboard as I balanced the computer. When I began using Laptop Laidback, I was able to relax my arms and legs, allowing me to work for longer periods of time in a comfortable position.

There are similar products on the market, but I like Laptop Laidback best because it is the only one where I can keep my elbows rested on the surface of the bed, floor, recliner, etc., while typing. It was designed with this in mind and no other product to my knowledge allows you to do this. It is a critical feature because less arm reaching and lifting equals less pain!

https://www.laptop-laidback.com?wpam_id=10

I have to be honest... when I first received it, I was skeptical. It is made of lightweight material and while very easy to assemble (no tools required), it seemed flimsy. Never did I think it would support my computer with me pounding away at the keys (I then found out it is made of a glass fiber formula similar to the sturdy wheels of a wheelchair). It also took some trial and error to get it adjusted to the proper angle and height for my needs. However, once I did, WOW, what a difference!! Not only is it super solid (beautifully designed by a physics teacher), it sits at the perfect height so I can finally relax when I have to lie down to work! I experience so much less discomfort. You wouldn't think by looking at it or holding it that it would be so solid and user friendly. I encourage you to look at their website to check out its other key features.

I was so impressed that I called the designer and owner of the company. He is a great guy and very empathetic to those of us in need of a desk like this. He wanted to help so he is offering a $10 discount! Click here to go to their website and use Coupon Code RELAX when you order. I hope you like it as much as I do!

Tom Seaman is a Certified Professional Life Coach in the area of health and wellness, and author of the book, Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey, a comprehensive resource for anyone suffering with any life challenge. He is also a motivational speaker, chronic pain and dystonia awareness advocate, health blogger, and volunteers for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) as a support group leader, for WEGO Health as a patient expert panelist, and is a member and writer for Chronic Illness Bloggers Network. To learn more about Tom’s coaching practice and get a copy of his book, visit www.tomseamancoaching.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dystoniabook1 and Instagram

http://www.diagnosisdystonia.com/


Sunday, July 16, 2017

How one looks is not a measure for how one feels

Human beings are visual creatures, so we often associate how one feels based on how they look and act. Sadly, this is very short sighted. Many people live with life altering conditions such as chronic pain, dystonia, cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, etc., with no visible symptoms at all to the naked eye. We also can't see anxiety, depression, dementia, PTSD, etc., which can be be crippling, so we should never base any conclusions about how someone feels on their appearance.

For many years, I lived with very visible symptoms of cervical dystonia and intense chronic pain where I could barely function, as well as morbid obesity. I also dealt with debilitating anxiety and depression. After losing 150 pounds (see before and after below) and learning to better manage my dystonia and chronic pain symptoms, I look normal so most people wrongfully think I am cured.



In actuality, I still live with pain and muscle contractions, awkward postures from muscles involuntarily pulling me off center, fatigue, etc. It is just not as visible as it used to be, but that doesn't mean I don't feel like someone is strangling me most of the time and my muscle contractions make me want to fall on the floor. Unfortunately, people can't see it so people often don't believe it.

This is the case for many people who are living with chronic health conditions. Many symptoms are completely invisible. Granted, dystonia is one that is often visible, but I know countless people with dystonia who have brutal symptoms that do not manifest physically. As a result, it is hard to diagnose and it is hard for people to believe them when they explain how they feel. People think it is all in our head, we are lazy, looking for attention, and so many other thoughtless judgments.

Sadly though, we all judge and compare. We do it with relationships, financial status, social life, possessions, and countless other things. Some people even compare their health with others. I used to compare my dystonia (and most of my life for that matter) with people all the time.

When I was experiencing the worst of my dystonia symptoms, in my mind, if someone didn’t look as bad as me then there was no way they could feel as bad as me. How wrong I was and shame on me!! Appearance means nothing. I know people with very difficult looking symptoms that have little to no pain and are very functional, others with no visible symptoms and in terrible pain, unable to do much of anything, and of course many people in between. How one looks is not a measure for how one feels!



When times were really tough for me, it was hard to reconcile hearing people say things like, “I can’t take it anymore”; “I wish I were never born”; “The pain is more than I can handle.” When I said these things it was usually just a way of describing to others how sick I felt, but there were plenty of times I really felt this way.

When I heard others use these same words while they were still working, travelling, running, hiking, playing tennis and golf, etc., going to social functions, and living what appeared to be a pretty normal life, while I was literally living on my floor because I was in too much pain to sit or stand, I was infuriated. For years, just walking to the bathroom from bed was a major undertaking. I couldn’t fathom doing all the other things.

It took me a long time to realize that I was being unfair because we only know what we know. Our reality is unique to us, so for a person who we perceive as having “mild” symptoms, it might be far worse than we think and/or to them it might be the worst thing they ever experienced.



People also have different pain thresholds, attitudes, and coping skills. Thus, their words ring true for them. They can describe themselves however they want and be involved in whatever activities they choose. We are not in their shoes so we don’t know what they are experiencing. Quite frankly, it is none of our business.

Just because someone else, whether they have a limiting health condition or not, might be able to do things you can’t or find uncomfortable does not make you any less of a person. There may be things you can do with ease where others struggle. Either way, it doesn’t matter. You have many great qualities and everyone in your life should focus on the strengths that exist and the accomplishments YOU achieve every day. Our time is better spent doing all we can to feel as well as we can, instead of comparing ourselves with others and trying to understand and figure out someone else’s life.



Tom Seaman is a Certified Professional Life Coach in the area of health and wellness, and author of the book, Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey, a comprehensive resource for anyone suffering with any life challenge. He is also a motivational speaker, chronic pain and dystonia awareness advocate, health blogger, and volunteers for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) as a support group leader, for WEGO Health as a patient expert panelist, and is a member and writer for Chronic Illness Bloggers Network. To learn more about Tom’s coaching practice and get a copy of his book, visit www.tomseamancoaching.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dystoniabook1 and Instagram

http://www.diagnosisdystonia.com/