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Little Things 248 : Being Unwell


For my lower back, neck and shoulder problem (since Aug 2021):

  1. I had 5 sessions with a chiropractor, Dr Samson at Elite Spine - we did adjustments and acupressure. Mostly around 30 - 45 minutes per session. RM 130 per session.  
  2. I had 3 sessions with a physiotherapist, Maisarah at PhysioCare (and 2 more sessions scheduled after Dec) - we tried heat treatment, massage, scrapping, acupressure, acupuncture, dry cupping, and physiotherapy. 1 hour session per treatment. I paid for RM 525 for 5 sessions.

I spent a lot of money this year for my physical and mental health. I bought new mattress and pillow, new ergonomic work setup, massage and working out equipments, supplements for recovery and healthy food choice. It has been an eye-opening experience, being unwell. 

I stayed at my mom's a lot since the border restriction was lifted, so Ma can finally meet Sofi every waking hours. We also walked almost every day outdoor. I am a changed person, I became closer to my family, I learned to ask for help, to show vulnerability, I choose not to suffer alone. I let got of my work, I turn off Patreon's monthly rewards and stopped social media when I needed. I also read a lot, thrifted a lot, borrowed a lot (but reading has always been my ultimate activity, so no surprise there).

Being unwell is a humbling experience. I had walked through the 5 stages (of grief) : the denial, the anger, the bargaining, the depression and the acceptance. Sometimes I am at the first stage back, especially when it started to get really painful again. Sometimes I just go along with the situation, like when having a vertigo while walking outdoor and it felt like walking on clouds, having to play a game of balancing (in this situation, vertigo isn't painful just very inconvenient depending on how bad it is). 

At this point, we have accepted 'the situation' and adapting to it. So we are no longer searching for a full-time job (I've been a freelancer for the past 5 years so this isn't new to me), but Af isn't so he needs to find his work-rhythm because there are times when I am too unwell to do anything but sit/lie down. So we had to be prepared for it. 

Ah well, this is what it is. 


Note : At times like this, I am so grateful for the work rezeki that I've been having, because I keep on getting 1 big project at a time, I only need to work at least a full week in every month and the payment would be enough for at least 1.5 months. It is a huge advantage for me because I am often too unwell to work even though I wanted to. Thank you Allah.  

2nd note : I've been reading Hanya Yanagihara's debut novel : People in the Trees and it is an engaging read :F I haven't read that much good fiction lately - and so finding this is a like picking up a full caramelized popcorn in the dark while watching movie (if you like caramelized popcorn). I'm happy I started reading her book to close up my 2021 reading challenge.

I hope you are well. 

- image :

Little Story 239 : Why I Stopped Running

It's been 8 days since my vertigo started. I've been to 3 physiotherapy sessions in a week and I've healed from my neck and shoulder strain. But not the vertigo, not the spinning sensation, not the imbalance world within every move.

It is definitely frustrating, if it weren't for my experience throughout 2021, I would definitely whine and be more stressed out about this. I can't run, I can't even walk properly. I entered 10km virtual run (because I want all the merchandizes I designed) but I can't even run. I've already walked 6 km for the run all while I was having a light vertigo. Can you imagine that ? No, of course you can't.

I told my physiotherapist : "I use to ran a lot, I ran, I do yoga, I'm fairly an active person. Now I can't even walk properly". This year was supposed to be the year I started running for fun again, the year I take yoga license. But I couldn't do any of that. I've been sick on and off through out the year. 

One thing I have to learn to let go is the believe that I can do anything. Time is very limited, and sometimes our stories are written in a way that we don't really want to happen. I definitely NOT want to be sick and fragile, but I am, right now. I had to let go of certain things at this moment. I learn not to hold on too much on goals, but only focus on the stories and the lessons. 


I stopped running in events because I feel like I've been trying to catch something in the finish line just to prove something to myself. I've come to a this realization when I was training for my half-marathon and I ran 10 km every day - but without the crowds, without the medals, without the cheers, and I felt fine. I thought "oh so this is what a 10 km run should really feel like, uneventful and plain". 

After my 2 half-marathons, I decided to stop running in events because I know. I know I can run, I can train for a marathon and spend my days doing the rigorous training, I know I can because I'm a very strong-willed and goal-oriented person. If I can learn to do 5km, and 10km, and 21km, I know what I needed to do for a marathon. That is not my purpose to start running (at least not in events). I loved running, but I didn't feel fulfilled after the goals was reached, I just pushed for more goals - and boy, I love goals (look at how much I read every year). 

And so I stopped running in events. 

But I still love moving, and I realized that I love walking and hiking more. I told Af that I really-really would want to walk. I want a long walk, a really really long walk. I don't want a marathon, I don't want another run with the crowds. I didn't need the numbers telling me what I can reach or not. But I still want to move. I want a long walk, from a city to another city, to the countryside and the forest, alongside the beach and the silence of the old villages. 

I don't really want to run anymore, but I want to have long walks. The ones that I spend the whole day just walking, the ones that make me wish for home, the ones that make my feet hurt, the ones that make me question my existence and the meaning of the world, I want to spend the nights scrapping off the muscle tensions for the next day, and I want to write. 

That's what I want, for now. 

For the past 4 years since I stopped running in events. 

I just want something uneventful, just a really long walk and to write. 


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Little Story 238 : Connecting The Dots

Early this week I woke up with a vertigo. I've been feeling tense around my shoulder and neck for several days, but I didn't expect it to lead to another cervical vertigo (the last one I had was in August). I woke up early, couldn't shake the spinning off, walked miserably to my desk and Googled my chiropractic center's information online. Unfortunately it is closed every Monday. 

I was desperate, again. 

A vertigo made me unable to perform anything, because everything is a roller-coaster ride. I was spinning all the time. I Googled other possible centre and I found one physiotherapy centre that can also help with neck and shoulder problem to release the muscle stress. At 6 am, I texted the centre and booked for an appointment.

Let me tell you again, I am an anxious person especially since I become a mother. It is ridiculous how my mind can do this to my whole body. I realised that everything that happened to me internally, will always find a way to be shown on my physical body. I just can't seem to cover anything up, it's almost ridiculous. 

One incident, during the post-partum phase, I was so stressed out and was struggling to adapt. My body reacted badly and developed a really bad hives. My whole body was red, itchy and swollen all over. The doctor couldn't do anything, none of the allergic medication could help me, I just had to force my mind to calm down.

Every time I'm stressed out on something, I will have either back pain, shoulder and neck pain, migraine, vertigo, pimples, anxiety symptoms : bloatedness, nauseous, etc.

Can you imagine how much I suffered physically during this pandemic ?

I can't lie. My mind can't lie.

"Oh no, your body, is too tense. Not only your shoulder and neck, even to your whole back", the physiotherapist told me. 

"Do you have anxiety?".

"I can tell just by feeling your back muscle, it's too tense. Did something triggers your anxiety lately?".

And here I thought I've been managing my anxiety nicely these past few months because I don't have the anxiety symptoms. No more heart beat randomly fast, cold sweat, nervousness, bloatedness, nauseousness, shaking, etc.  


During this physiotherapy treatment, I've had my body scrapped, massaged (+ acupressure), cupped (bekam) and we did the epley maneuver for the vertigo treatment. It was a hard work compared to my chiro session. I went back feeling sore for the first 3 days. It was painful, not the sharp pain like having a muscle strain but just a really strong soreness alongside my shoulder blade and behind my neck (where she mentioned there was so many muscle knots she tried to release).

On my 4th day, the vertigo and soreness slowly calmed down. 

But I have another follow-up session, which is today, the 4th day. 

Note : I feel like I've been managing my anxiety and stress well lately. Especially since we've been going out for a walk/run almost every morning since September (except on weekend). But maybe not 'that' well. Sometimes we can't really see what we are feeling inside especially when you try so hard to be ok, to not worry so much, to just calm our mind down and you feel ok, but our body doesn't lie. 

Oh well, this is my life at this moment in time. I'm too worried about the state of the world, it is taking a toll on my body. I wish I can learn to be peace with it, but I guess I'm having a hard time learning about that. But honestly compared to earlier this year when I first diagnosed with anxiety, that was a really tough time. 

This, is manageable. This, is a learning process. This is just a higher ladder a bit too tough to climb when my body is too sore from the pandemic. This is just a marathon when my body isn't well-trained. It is still manageable, but just a bit tough. 


Books - It's end of 2021 and I read more than 50 books this year

Here is my 2021 book list on Goodreads. <

I read and listened to more than 50 books in 2021 but, I didn't find a lot of books among them that I would recommend to people. To be honest, half of my 2021 were spent on safe-non-triggering books because of my anxiety. My book journey started probably after August more than half a year spent on healing mentally.

  • I found Thich Nhat Hanh really soothing for my soul. His ideas on the world and his teachings are really helpful. I enjoyed his books very much. 
  • I also listened to 2 of Sally Rooney's books but I found it mediocre, so I didn't understand the hype (but then, I always watched much younger Booktuber's book reviews so that maybe that's why). 
  • By the end of 2021, my anxiety are manageable and no longer a day-to-day problem, so I decided to go on a much heavier topics so I started to read books on philosophical and classic literature. I just read The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea by Yukio Mishima , The Dream of a Ridiculous Man by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Peace of Mind by Seneca. Currently I'm reading Dostoevsky's The Notes from Underground and rereading Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. I managed to buy a bunch of classic literature and philosophical literature from one of my IG follower that turned into a friend :D
  • I didnt read a lot of fiction this year, but Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro and Rumaan Alam's Leave the World Behind make me stop and think for awhile. For me, it is not a mind-blowing great books of the year but books that still lingers in my mind even after awhile. 


Books to read when I'm anxious : 

  • Any books by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Everything is Fucked by Mark Manson

Preparing for a rural life :

  • The Rural Diaries by Hilarie Burton 
  • Twelve by Twelve & New Slow City by William Powers
  • Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton
Parenting :
  • Bringing up bebe by Pamela Druckerman
  • Achtung Baby by Sara Zaske

Beautifully written : 

  • Stopped on the way Home by Meg Fee 
  • Klara & the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
Super boring read :
  • Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
  • The World According to Anna by Jostein Gaardner 

Note : I first wrote this when I woke up from a 5-hours sleep at 3 am and I couldn't go back to sleep even after an hour of toss and turn. I made a hot milo and added soy protein to it because I was hungry and I didn't ate dinner the night before. I decided to write something on my blog but I only can write about books and writers. 

Little Story 237 : My First and Second Sessions with a Chiropractor

After the long physical pain, in desperation, I finally booked a session with a chiropractor. I didn't know what else should I do, the vertigo lasted for 4 days and I was worried that it will take longer than that if I didn't do anything about the neck and shoulder strain.

From the website, I chose a date and the time, with no specific doctor in mind (they have several). I didn't even do deep research about the center, just enough until I read several positive reviews (I was really desperate, mind you).

Photo by Meta Zahren on Unsplash

My first session lasted for about 50 minutes. It started with a consultation, I told the doctor about when and how it started, how much pain, what did I do afterwards, and the location of the problematic areas. Then the doctor explained to me about what he will do. What he did was locating my problematic areas, releasing (accupressure I think), and the adjustments (I had back and neck adjustments).

Right after the session : None of the processes were painful, the cracks sounded scary and loud though. He helped me to sit and I was still feeling the slight vertigo but much less than before the session. My neck and shoulder were finally released from the stiffness. I was a bit light-headed but I was glad for the upper body release - no more pain. I went home, and I was tired so I napped for an hour.

That night : The vertigo stopped, my body started to feel sore all over.

The next morning : I was excited to try out my body, we had an outing, I was famished. Fun morning without pain or migraine or vertigo after the long 2 weeks of agony. 

Around 24 hours after the session : I felt fatigue, like extremely tired. I can't do anything because I was too tired. My body was sore and I started to feel worried. I read online about what the first session of chiropractic would do to your body and fatigue is pretty common because my body was finally in an improved posture, after the adjustment it released a lot of trapped toxin in certain areas, my body was detoxing and adapting to the new posture (so it took a lot of energy). 

I also texted the doctor and he confirmed that it is normal to feel soreness and fatigue especially after the first session because my body was adapting and my back had a long history of being misaligned and was not treated for awhile. 

I rested again, it took about 4-5 days of soreness. The fatigue improved after 3 days.


My second session (a week later), I told him about the improved condition and that I mostly don't feel any pain but only soreness. He did the acupressure thing (where he put pressure on certain areas to check whether I feel pain). None of pain from the upper body areas, only soreness. But he still did the crack thingy and it still make sounds but not as loud as before.

Next, he did back adjustment and also lower back adjustment. I had a problem with my lower back for years and the pain come and go every year. After the adjustment, I do feel the tiny "hello I'm still here" from my old pain which I'm a bit worried about. But maybe due to the adjustment, my body is adapting to the improved posture and the old pain is just there to say good bye.

The doctor asked me to do stretches every day, to move every 30 minutes and start light exercise to test it out for 2 weeks, and we will do a followup after that. 


Cost :

  • First consultation : RM 100
  • Chiro session : RM 130 per session

I went to Elite Spine Chiropractic Center in Seri Kembangan.


Honest opinion : I wish I went to a meet a chiropractor every time I had problems with my body in previous experiences instead of going to the normal clinic. The normal doctor never treats these properly, they will just give medication to soothe the pain and make the symptoms go away. While chiropractor make an adjustments to problematic areas (especially if it is misaligned for awhile). Treating the core problem instead of putting a bandage on untreated wound, you know.

As a designer/illustrator, I do have a bad posture and bad working habit, so I know these pain will always come and go when I ignore the proper body management (stretches, good posture, exercise, good working habit, etc). 

Since the session, I sit properly (or I try to), I finally invested in a proper ergonomical working space and also better pillow. I also stretches every day when I wake up and before I went to sleep. I started practicing yoga again. I also drink hot ginger tea every single morning to reduce inflammation. 

My conditions are improved - still sore a bit but no longer in pain. 


My sessions :
1st session
2nd session - a week gap
3rd session - 2 weeks gap
4th session - a month gap