Sunday, December 21, 2014

One Wish...

If you could have one wish, what would it be
Fabulous presents under the Christmas tree
A new computer, an iPad or maybe a phone
A piece of jewellery with a big sparkling stone

What would make the season special for you
Perhaps something special you’d like to do
A visit to Paris or maybe Rome
Or have a family party in your own home

What would make life better this year
And better for those whom you hold dear
If you could have any gift, what would it be
What is the one thing you’d like to see

Sometimes what we would like is hard to find
Like compassion and happiness and peace of mind
A world without fear and hate would be nice
But things like that, don’t come with a price

Instead, they are things which we can create
And not just yearly on one single date
To have a better world in which we live
Perhaps we all have something to give

Maybe if we all play a part each day
Showing compassion along the way
Spreading some cheer, some kindness too
The wishes we have, may come true

E. Sirrell   December, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

People like Bob

Bob Geldof.....good old Sir Bob.....coming out of the woodwork to solve the Ebola problem this time. Gathers the troops, brings out another version of the Band Aid single, 'Do they know it's Christmas'. they know it's Christmas? Do they? Did the people in Africa ever find out it was Christmas? Of course they did. He ridded Africa of its poverty single-handedly, didn't he. Didn't he???

Remember the, "Give us your f***ing money!" back in the eighties.

He became the world's hero. But that was a while ago.

Perhaps Sir Bob needs his ego polished a little bit once again?

A multi millionaire, (thought to be worth 32 million) giving his time, asking for our money for a good cause. I'm not arguing with that....of course it is a good cause. What I am against is people and organisations which use emotional blackmail to make people donate to actually benefit themselves financially and boost their egos along the way. I'm also against people criticising others for not donating. It is a personal choice as to whether someone donates to a charity. It is their business. Their money. Their time. Their effort. Bob Geldof publicly criticised the singer Adele because she didn't jump on the bandwagon and join Band Aid to sing 'Do they know it's Christmas?' this time around. He had no right whatsoever to do that. If Adele donates to causes she feels deserve it, perhaps she does so privately, without the need for people to tell her how wonderful she is for doing so.

Bob Geldof also offers his services as a speaker at functions and charges a fortune. A lovely little money earner. His chosen subject.....poverty. The multi millionaire talks about poverty.

In one instance, he travelled to Melbourne, Australia and charged a whopping $100,000 to speak about poverty. If you are interested in hiring him, I suggest you find someone who knows about poverty, whether that be poverty in Africa or poverty in the UK or poverty anywhere else in the world. Most people who live in poverty would do the talk free of charge, then you could donate that $100,000 to their chosen charity.

Bob Geldof is one of the many celebrities (and many other high earners) in the UK who find ways to avoid paying tax. (Yes, that's right, the man who asks us, not even politely, to donate to his cause, has so much money himself and pays no tax. He has said in the past that his time is tax.)

So while our countries go into financial meltdown, with working people relying on food banks to ensure their families are fed, people like Bob ask us to help him save the world....and polish his ego at the same time.

There are many organisations and individuals giving their time and money quietly, no publicity....they just want to help. But people like Bob want the limelight. They want to be seen to be the one who saved the world, freed the people in Africa from their poverty and even put a stop to Ebola. “We really can stop this foul little plague,” as he so eloquently put it, when he was interviewed on BBC Breakfast earlier this week.

I am hoping Ebola can be stopped, but I think it will be down to a lot of other people. Although, I am sure Bob will try to claim some of the glory.

Perhaps if all those high earning celebrities (and companies like Amazon, Starbucks etc.) actually paid the tax they should, the world wouldn't be in the state it is in now. Perhaps if all the banks didn't give themselves such high (undeserved) bonuses, we would be in a better state. Perhaps if all the MPs and those who sit in the House of Lords didn't claim millions in expenses (tax-free) to supplement their salaries, we would all be living in better world. 

Sadly, there are just too many families world wide, not just in third world countries, who also won't know it's Christmas this year. People without a roof over their heads. People who are relying on soup kitchens and food banks. And the people who are fortunate enough to have a roof over their heads are trying to decide whether to heat or eat.

And people like Bob Geldof could help. Quite simply by paying their taxes.

When a reporter once asked Bob about his non-payment of tax, he got angry and asked her how many irrigation ditches she had built. She may have built none, but she had paid the taxes she was due to pay. So she has helped fund the NHS, pay pensions to the elderly, look after sick and disabled, pay towards education etc....oh and her tax has also gone towards providing aid to other countries when needed. 

Incidentally, Bob Geldof visited Scotland a couple of months ago, in a bid to persuade us not to become an independent country. S
ent up by Westminster with a group of other very well off celebrities who probably also enjoy tax dodging....they probably also got paid expenses for their trip. 

In his speech he used that expression, "we are better together".

As long as they're are people like Bob not paying what they should, I don't think we are.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Remembrance Day

After a peace treaty was signed, the First World War came to an end in the early hours of the 11th of November, 1918.

Poppies were growing in the battlefields of Flanders and due to their colour, they became a symbol of the blood spilled during the war. And there was a lot of spilled blood. The war saw millions of lives lost and even more millions injured throughout all the countries involved, amongst both military and civilians. 

World War One was thought at the time to be the war to end all wars. Sadly, we know that wasn't the case.

We remember those who fought for our countries. What they gave was precious and we must never forget them. But we also must never forget the civilians who were also affected. Nor can we forget about the lives lost on the other side of the battlefields. Those soldiers most likely had no choice other than to fight for their country.

There are so many lessons to be learnt from history.

But are we actually capable of  learning them?

To be honest, I have serious doubts about it.

I want a peaceful world. A world with no terror.  A world without hate. A world without racism and sectarianism. A world free from homophobia. A world that accepts everyone for who they are, without discriminating in any form. A world where people are respected. A kinder world. A fairer world.

I don't imagine I'll get what I want....

We are still living in a world with so much hate, greed and terror. We have power-hungry leaders throughout the world who almost seem to enjoy war. We see wars over power. Wars over religion. Wars over oil. Wars to avoid wars. We live in a warring world.

Our Warring World

We say goodbye as they leave for war
Hardly knowing what they are fighting for
Some come home. Many are lost
War always comes with such a high cost

Husbands, wives, fathers and mothers
Sons and daughters, sisters and brothers
War heroes, they're called, with medals too
Returned back home, draped in red, white and blue

At home we wait for those to arrive
The fortunate ones who did survive
A sense of relief is in the air
Despite some being wounded beyond repair

Physical wounds. In time they heal
But some wounds we can neither see nor feel
The shell shock. The memories. Bloody and dark
The war has left an invisible mark

We’ll never forget, but will we ever learn?
Wars give us lessons which are harsh and stern
Lessons of fighting, bloodshed and tears
Lessons of anger, bitterness and fears

Power hungry men want to lead the fight
Marching soldiers into the darkness of night
They’re fighting. They’re struggling. So many are dying
Wars bring no winners. Just misery. And crying

Will our world be at war until the end of time
With innocent lives being lost to a hideous crime?
Will the hunger for power ever cease?
To make way for a better world; a world of peace

© E. Sirrell
November 2014

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Remember, Remember, the 5th of November............. Gunpowder, treason and plot

Back in 1605, some guys decided they would like to blow up the Houses of Parliament. One guy was caught red-handed.

Guy Fawkes was sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered for his part in the crime, however, he jumped to his death before that could happen.

Over 400 years later, we still 'celebrate' Guy Fawkes. Bonfires and firework displays are held throughout the UK on the 5th of November every year. A 'guy' (an effigy of Guy Fawkes) is normally placed on top of the bonfire to be burnt.

Despite the country having no money, making cuts here there and everywhere (apart from MPs expenses....would be unfair to make cuts there), some councils organise bonfire and firework displays.

Tonight, the sky above the UK will probably be glowing red from the heat of all those bonfires.

One particular council run bonfire in a town in England is using a different effigy this year.

Lewes, in East Sussex, will be burning an effigy of Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland, along with our lovely Nessie. Some tartan, Scottish saltires....I'm sure I saw a haggis in there somewhere too. Basically, all things Scottish.

There is also a sign saying 45%. The 45% obviously represents the 45% of the Scottish people who voted for Independence. In case nobody realises, I am one of those 45%.

Why does this Tory run council think this is OK?

The referendum is over. We weren't being anti-English. So why is it ok to be anti-Scottish?

Scottish people were accused of being anti-English for wanting Independence. But we weren't. We were not voting against England (which is how the press reported it). The referendum had nothing to do with the Scots disliking the English. It was about getting a parliament which had Scottish interests at heart, instead of a parliament which looks after its own and forgets about other areas of the UK.

Scotland is not Anti-English. Scotland is Anti-Westminster.

But Westminster got their No vote. By hook or by crook, they got their No vote. (If I sound a bit sceptical about that result, that's because I am) But none the less, they got their No vote. We are still part of the UK. David Cameron was extremely relieved that the country with the liquid black gold was to stay within the UK. So relieved that he let the world know that the Queen purred to him....

Since the referendum, politics in UK have gone crazy. There are MPs jumping ship. The Labour party, especially in Scotland, is crumbling. It is in tatters. Blaming the referendum.....but they won (apparently), so why are they leaving? Why aren't they slapping each other's backs and congratulating each other on their victory. Perhaps their victory wasn't as sweet as they would have liked.

UK has been trying to call the shots in Europe, much to the disdain of other countries in Europe. We might actually be put out of Europe, since Westminster got its sums wrong and owes a lot of money to Europe, which Mr Cameron doesn't want to pay. If we're not put out, we might leave Europe anyway, since Mr Cameron has said there will be a referendum so the people can decide. (Hate to let you all know this, but somehow referendums give the result that Westminster want....yep Sceptic Liz really doesn't believe that was the true result in Scotland, but I will keep my reasons for another time) The irony about Europe, is that the Better Together campaign, used Europe as one of their biggest arguments against Independence. If we were to leave UK, we were warned, we'd not be part of Europe.....looks like we possibly won't be part of Europe anyway the way things are going now.

But anyway, back to Lewes council's effigy of Alex Salmond and all things Scottish (including 45% of its voters) it ok for a council to support something like this? Would it be ok to have an effigy of any other politician? Royalty? Someone black? A gay couple? Or what about an effigy representing another country and its people? What about something representing China? Russia? USA? Germany?

Surely not. Doesn't UK condemn bigotry and discrimination?

During the referendum campaign, David Cameron asked people to "love bomb" Scotland. Don't let Scotland split the UK. We are all "Better Together".

Whatever happened to the love bombing Mr Cameron?

End Trigeminal Neuralgia: Invisible Conditions

Trgeminal Neuralgia is one of many Invisible Conditions. People very often find it difficult to understand or empathise when there are no visible signs of illness.

End Trigeminal Neuralgia: Invisible Conditions: Trigeminal Neuralgia is an invisible condition. One of the most difficult aspects of living with Trigeminal Neuralgia is that it cannot...

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Day

Today, the 7th of October, is International Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Day. If you use Facebook, you may have noticed a plethora of teal coloured profile pictures representing the condition.

I changed my own profile pic to this.

This represents my face pain. The Trigeminal Nerve comes from the brain and enters the face via the Gasserian Ganglion (shown in yellow on my picture). The nerve then branches into three : Ophthalmic (red), Maxillary (orange) and Mandibular (blue). I get pain on each branch of the nerve, fortunately mostly on one side of my face, but I do sometimes have pain on the other side too.

There is no known cause for my pain, as is the case for many other people. Obviously, there has to be a cause, but that cause is unknown to doctors. That can be a huge problem. If a cause cannot be found, it is extremely difficult to treat it. Another problem, possibly an even larger problem, is that when a cause cannot be found, some people, including some doctors, may actually question the realness of the pain. It casts doubt on the patient. It can make patients feel as if nobody believes them.

This is not unique to Trigeminal Neuralgia though. Many, many conditions are the same. Especially when there are no visible signs of an illness. An Invisible Disease. People can look healthy, but can feel far from it. They can be living every day in agonising pain, but nothing shows. Absolutely nothing.

So how can that be fixed? Walk about with a post-it on my forehead with a list of ailments? Paint my face teal and draw on the lines of the nerve, like the photo above? Would a stranger walking down the street see my teal face and realise I have Trigeminal Neuralgia? They might...if they had trigeminal neuralgia themselves and if they are part of online support groups. But if they have never heard of it, they would be none the wiser and would simply wonder why I had painted my face this lovely shade of blue.....or is it a lovely shade of green?

Having a colour to represent a condition is good as long as people are also given information about the condition. The information is the important part.

The truth is that a colour doesn't define a condition. Likewise, a condition doesn't define a person.

That photo above might represent my pain. But it certainly doesn't represent me.

I have chronic face and head pain (and back pain, but I'll ignore that for now), but that's not who I am. It's part of me. But it's not all of me. I don't want to have a post-it attached to my forehead to tell people about my pain.

I guess I've lived with pain for so long, that I don't know anything else anyway, but I sometimes wonder if my pain has actually helped turn me into the person I am. And, I will admit that I am quite happy to be that person.

I think it is so important for people to not allow their illness to define them. Obviously, because I help with awareness and support for Trigeminal Neuralgia, it does take up a lot of my time and energy. But I also have to switch off from it. I cannot let TN define me. There are some things I cannot do due to my pain. But there are other things I can do despite my pain. I prefer to focus on those things, otherwise, my pain would define me.

The Teal Appeal

I've always loved the colour teal. In fact, I liked the colour so much that when I got married, my Mum wore teal. She went shopping for an outfit and came home and showed me. I was so happy when I saw it and I said it was my favourite colour. She said, "I know, that's why I chose it."

So my Mum wore teal for me before it ever became fashionable to ask people to wear a certain colour to represent a certain condition.

People have been working really hard to try to get some awareness about Trigeminal Neuralgia. Making their social media profiles teal, trying to light buildings in teal, attaching teal ribbons to trees, asking people to wear something teal.

Hopefully people will ask why a building is being lit in teal, why someone has tied lovely teal coloured bows on trees, why so many people are sporting teal nail varnish during October. Hopefully their efforts will lead to more people learning about Trigeminal Neuralgia.

I haven't actually asked anyone to wear teal on my behalf. My family and friends know what my life is like, give me support and they share my posts on Facebook about TN. I don't need them to wear something teal on one day of the year to tell me they support me. I also know that it can be difficult for some of my family to see my TN related posts or pictures like the one above. They hurt because they know about my pain. They hurt because they care.

On Wednesday, I will remove my teal TN profile picture and replace it with my normal photo. However, I will still carry on raising awareness about Trigeminal Neuralgia.....awareness doesn't stop after awareness day.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Panorama - Care Home for the Elderly

A few days ago we watched the much publicised Panorama programme about care homes for the elderly. It was distressing viewing to say the least. I don't know what was worse - seeing patients being physically abused or the degrading manner in which they were treated or the way the staff took every last piece of dignity from them. This is an article here, written in the Daily Mail last week.

My husband and I watched the programme in horror and disgust and neither of us have been able to stop thinking about it since. All we could think was "thank goodness that none of our parents are in a care home".

A hidden camera had been placed in a 98 year old woman's room by her grand-daughter. The old lady, who seemed like a fairly young 98 year old, had told her grand-daughter that some of the care home staff were mistreating patients. Without saying anything, the grand-daughter placed a hidden camera in the room. What was filmed was beyond shocking.

The old lady could no longer walk unaided, and had called for a nurse to help her up out of bed to go to the bathroom one evening. The poor woman was becoming distressed when nobody appeared. She kept calling out and two and a half hours later, a carer (this was her job title....definitely not a carer by definition) came to her room and asked why she wanted to get up. The lady asked for help to go to the bathroom and the carer refused and told her "you're wearing a pad - just do it where you are." The lady was shocked and seemed horrified at the thought of doing that. She begged the carer to help her, but the carer ignored her plea. She left the room, switched off the light and left this poor lady in distress. The lady again called out, and eventually the carer came back with a colleague and this time they did get her out of the bed. But they expected her to walk alone. She was then chastised and ridiculed for being unable to walk, then put back to bed very roughly and told yet again to just use the pad.

I can't even begin to explain just how distressing it was to watch. That poor woman was 98 and still wanted to retain some dignity, but those carers stole that from her.

Thankfully, the film footage was shown to police and charges were brought against the staff. The old lady passed away just days after that incident. Her grand-daughter had told her about the camera having filmed her and the lady was so pleased because she felt it would help put a stop to treatment like this, so it could help other patients.

Hidden cameras discovered a lot of bad treatment, however, they also showed that there were some nice staff, who deserved the title "carer". Sadly though, the bad will always overshadow the good. People with family in care homes will probably always wonder just what kind of carers are looking after their loved ones.

Should it be necessary to put a hidden camera in all the rooms? Seems very Big Brotherish, but is it the way to ensure that someone is getting the proper care and attention they deserve? Perhaps some of the staff in these care homes need to be aware that there could be a camera somewhere, making them more aware of their actions.

Being a carer in a home for the elderly cannot be an easy job, and is probably not well enough paid. But surely the job title "carer" should give a clue to what they are expected to do. Some people would admit that they are not suited to that job, and that is not a crime. But to do the job badly is a crime.

Hopefully programmes like this will help towards giving people a better future in care homes. Surely everyone deserves compassionate care and to be allowed to keep their dignity for as long as possible. Surely that is everyone's right.

There will always be bad apples in all walks of life. But hopefully there will always be more good than bad. And hopefully, people will look after the vulnerable in society to ensure they only get good apples.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Spring Has Sprung

Blue sky and sunshine here, so I've been outside just enjoying it. Don't get weather like this too often, so not missing an opportunity to get some natural Vitamin D.

Been really lovely - not a cloud in the sky, with the sun in my eyes. I'm sure those words could be turned into a good song...

Sometimes it is nice to take some time out of life, relax, and just enjoy something you love. Some people love hustle and bustle. I love silence.

So silence, with the added bonus of having sunshine, has kept me smiling over the last few days.

I suppose I could say it makes me feel on top of the world....

Wish I could sing like Karen Carpenter. Actually, I really just wish I could sing! Husband wishes I would stop singing....

Anyway, back to being outside, in the peace and quiet, no noise other than from nature itself. The birds have been singing, bees buzzing, leaves rustling in the peaceful.

The garden is full of daffodils and our hens have started laying again. So that is a sure sign that Spring has definitely sprung.

We only have six hens now. They are three years old now, and still giving us eggs. Only problem is that they keep changing their minds about where to lay their eggs. So while other people have been doing Easter egg hunts over the last few days, we have been doing real egg hunts. I was lucky enough on Sunday to find a nest with six lovely eggs....and two pheasant eggs as an added extra. The pheasants must have decided they liked that spot for laying too.

There is nothing to beat fresh, free range eggs. During the winter, when the hens stop laying, we take it ill out when we have to buy eggs. I pay extra to buy free range, but they are never the good as our own. Maybe it's because we know ours really are free range...

Friday, March 21, 2014

What's Worse Than Spam?

I once wrote a blog post about how much I hate spam. Well, there is something else I really hate even more than spam. Can look a bit like spam, even sounds like spam....but it is worse than spam.

The internet must be like a playground to scammers. Some of them are very clever. They do their research, find the right audience and find a weak point. Then they prey...

People with illnesses and disabilities are often that target audience. We have a weak point....we don't want to be ill or have a disability. We want a cure, we want to get better, we will try almost anything. So the scammers throw us a line and reel us in.

Whether they try to sell us supplements with amazing claims that they will cure nerve pain, or some new fangled machine which will do wonders for our painful bodies, they shout out one word : SCAM

Their websites normally have testimonials written by "clients" actual fact, those testimonials are often made up by the company.

When we started our Trigeminal Neuralgia awareness page, a young woman came onto the page and said she used a certain (very expensive) supplement and her TN was cured. She claimed to have lots of friends with TN, and they used the supplement too, and they were all cured. Amazing! Truth was that she didn't even know what Trigeminal Neuralgia was, and she knew nobody with the condition. She eventually admitted to me that the testimonials on the website were all fake. Every single one. She was trying to make some extra money by generating business. She came to the wrong awareness page that day.

I am not suggesting that all supplements are made by companies who prey on vulnerable people. Some supplements are good, and some may help things like nerve pain. But, people should check the company out, and ask doctors or pharmacists if they are safe to take, especially when taking other meds. Some herbal supplements can interfere with many meds, so it is always best to be safe.

Something else I came across this week is a clinic using laser therapy. Their website claims that their laser therapy will cure Trigeminal Neuralgia.

  • Proof that their therapy can cure TN is in the testimonials. (Yes, the testimonials which they have possibly made up)
  • They claim their laser is ten times stronger than an other laser. (I'm not sure if this is good or bad)
  • If you have medical insurance, it will not cover laser treatment.
  • If you want to know how much this laser therapy costs, they will not tell you until you have a consultation.
  • They say that you will normally have two thirty minute treatments per day possibly over three weeks. (Surely they should be able to give a price if it is a set length of time for a session)
  • They say it is a cure for TN, yet they say that if it does not work the first time, you can have another round of treatments for half price. (That would be if you have any money left after the first round of treatments)
  • Oh, and you can enjoy the area and stay in a lovely hotel while you are there. (The hotels in the area must love this clinic)

I have seen people ask about this laser therapy....people with TN see that word CURE and think it could change their lives. TN isn't just about pain, it can ruin people's lives. They become desperate for a cure. They use their savings, take out loans, sell their possessions.....they would pay anything for a cure.

Except, this doesn't seem to be curing those people. People have lost thousands of dollars, pinning their hopes on being pain free, but after the treatment, they have the same pain (sometimes worse), and empty bank books.

I don't know enough about laser therapy to know whether or not it can actually help anyone. It may help some people. My husband told me last night that someone he knows had accidentally left his laser torch switch on. It burnt a hole in the wooden table. So I don't think I would like to try laser therapy, especially with the knowledge that their laser is ten times stronger than any other.

I know that there are no real cures out there for Trigeminal Neuralgia. The Facial Pain Research Foundation is trying to find a cure, and we can rest assured that when they do, it will go through the correct channels of being tested etc before it reaches us.

I really hate knowing that people are out their trying to take advantage of people who live with illness and disabilities. Scammers are the lowest of the low, they prey on vulnerable people. They give people hope, they take their money, but they do not cure people.

When we see the word "cure" on an advert or website, we all need to be very cautious. Ask questions, ask doctors, look out for one another.....we need to ensure that people are not taken in by those false claims.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Coping Mechanisms

When living with chronic pain, life can by tiring, frightening and frustrating.

A chronic pain patient has to learn ways of coping. It can become an emotional battleground, fighting against feelings of fear, anxiety, depression and even guilt. They have to find ways of relaxing and trying to clear their mind from the pain which can so easily take over their life. They have to find a way of keeping their identity so they do not become lost to their pain. Their pain must only be part of them - it cannot be allowed to take over.

The same applies for people living with someone else's chronic pain. Whether they are the patient's partner, parent, child or friend, their life can also be tiring, frightening and frustrating. In some ways, perhaps more so. They can get tired of watching the person they love struggle, frightened of the future, frightened of never seeing that person be free of pain. The frustration and guilt at times must be overwhelming, because they can do little, or sometimes nothing, to make that person's life easier.  It can be soul destroying for someone seeing a loved one in constant pain.

They also have to find ways of coping and relaxing so that they can also clear their mind of the pain. It is possibly even more important that they do this, so that they can continue to support the person they love.

Living with pain is certainly not easy....but living with someone else's pain is possibly even more difficult.

I have always been lucky. I think there is something in my genes which makes me just accept my pain for what it is, and cope with it as best I can. Maybe because I have grown up with pain, I simply don't know anything different, so I can just accept it more easily than some people who have had a normal life, then suddenly develop a chronic illness or condition. They then have a huge adjustment to make and have to learn to deal with that along with physical and emotional problems associated with their condition.

When I look at my life, I try not to focus on the negative parts. That would drag me down....and I can't let that happen. In fact, I think I try to take the negatives and turn them into something positive. Most of my blog posts are about my face pain, which is an extremely negative aspect of my life, so it could be said that I focus on that too much.....but my reason for focussing on that is to bring much needed awareness about Trigeminal Neuralgia. This helps myself as well as other people with the condition. That is my way of turning something very negative into something positive.

So my pain may be negative, but if I can take something positive from it, it helps me to deal with it.

I also look around me every day and find reasons to smile, and there are always plenty of reasons. I smile because I love where I live. I smile because I love that crazy guy I am married to. I smile because my family mean so much to me. I smile because my eight year old fox-red labrador still tries to climb up beside me for a cuddle. I smile when the cat talks to me (she does....she really does!)

I smile because I have started drawing again. I smiled because Ian made a pot of chicken soup this afternoon and it is delicious. There was a glimpse of sunshine and blue sky while I was out shopping...that made me smile thinking that Spring is somewhere just around the corner. Then on the way home, I saw the snow on the hills......that made me smile too because they just look beautiful covered in snow.

There is always something to smile about.

My life can be tiring, frightening and frustrating, but finding things to smile about, I think, is my coping mechanism. That is what helps get me through life.

Everybody living with pain (whether their own, or someone else's) has to find their own coping mechanism.

Finding it is the hard part, but once found, life can become so much easier.