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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.  

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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. 

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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. 

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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 
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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.


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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. 

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Cost :

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

I went to Elite Spine Chiropractic Center in Seri Kembangan.

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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. 

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

Little Story 236 : The Back Pain is here


Every time I fell sick I'll be reminded of how less time we have, how much I've ignored my good health, how much I've forgotten to stretch my body or walk every morning, how much I took things for granted. 



I will come back to this blog to refer to my previous conditions, how many days it will take for the pain to slowly goes away, how much pain tolerance did I have before giving in to the modern medication, how much cries, how much pain ? I will eventually forget, I always always do. 

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This time, I just 'simply' miscalculated my step while cleaning up Sofi's mattress, I stood up too fast, my lower back is now frozen, and it just that. The sharp pain is there now, every wrong movement, every change of position. I can't do anything yesterday, I just sat stiffly. We tried ice pack at night, it didn't worked. I cried when I have to stood up after I laid down, because it is just too painful. Aja stayed here since yesterday and she had to see me sobbed uncontrollably when I tried to stand up (she was the one helping me last night and Af helped me this morning). Both time I suddenly cried loudly - I don't usually cry, mind you, it is a rare event.  


I'm in agony, again. Like I always do, when my body isn't cooperating.


So we walked to the clinic, I needed the pain killer. I don't usually like modern medication, but this is just too much, so I had to give in. The doctor decided to give a painkiller jab because he saw the condition I was in and he gave more home-medication for anti-inflammatory, muscle pain, pain killer and analgesic patches. He said maybe it will last another 2-3 days, top. Give my body a rest, walk slowly to exercise if I can, stretch my body when I can. 


Maybe this is due to stress or anxiety or lack of movement, we've been indoor for far too long. I miss the nature so much.

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I need to update this post for my future reference (because this happens more than I thought it could - at least once a year either my neck or my lower back) :


Day 1 : It happened, I rested the whole day, sitting stiffly. We tried ice patch at night. I cried when I had to stood up after I laid down because it was so painful. I slept badly, I woke up every time I needed to change the position, slowly roll-in to find a 'comfortable' enough position to continue sleeping.

Day 2 : It is still as bad, I cried more than intended again, every time I need to stood up after I laid down. We decided to go to the clinic for pain killer (or anything to make this less painful while it is slowly healing - because I needed to move to heal, but movements are too painful). Got a jab, the pain killer lasted for 6 hours, in the mean time, the doctor asked me to eat the medication he gave (stated above) and use the patch he gave to reduce the inflammation. The patch is called Ketotop, the number #1 pain relief patch from Korea. 

Day 3 : Surprisingly,  it got much better (I think the medication worked). I can pull up my body slowly from laying down, and even laid down myself when needed. I tried to cook that evening, but it eventually got a bit painful after awhile so Af helped to finish it up. My whole body was sore from the stiffness that I've been controlling due to the fear of triggering the pain. But, yes, it got a lot better than the day before.

Day 4 : I tried the whole day without pain killer and just ate the anti-inflammatory and muscle pain medicine in the morning. It was no longer 'painful', I can move around - but still stiffly and very limited. My body was sore (neck, shoulder, back, and thigh) I think due to my bad posture caused by the limited position I was in.

Day 5 : I didn't eat any medicine, no longer in pain but my body was still sore, tho :F Neck, shoulder, spine, leg - not sure whether it is because of the cold weather this week or the injury itself. I slept in at 10 pm and woke up at 6.30 am, had a long night rest the whole week. 

Day 6 : Same as day 5, my body was still sore all over but no longer painful. I ordered epsom salt and ginger massage oil to help reduce the soreness and heat up my body internally because I've been cold and everything hurts :F 

Since day 4 - 13 : I've been having a neck & shoulder muscle tension, everything is stiff and I couldn't release it (it is not painful but it is very uncomfortable). I've been massaging it daily with ginger oil, do stretches and taking warm shower with herbal mix since the second week. 

Day 12 - 13 : I've been having migraine. The pulsating throb on my right head (behind the skull and ear). I think everything is connected since the back pain. 

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Note : 

  • Doctor said not to put any ice/hot patch because we don't know the exact injury (for fear of making it worse)
  • No massages, just light stretches when I can. Stretches and movements help with the healing. 
  • Time and rest will decide how long it will take to heal completely. Most of the time it will take around a week, more than a week, need to get a referral to go to the hospital. 
  • So, rest well and stretch. 

Super note for myself : Please do yoga stretches EVERY morning and walk daily from now on (if you can). 

Little Things 247 : I'm Tired of the Negativity

I got vaccinated last Friday.


I hope I have given my mind a tiny bit of hush. That this will slowly but gradually be better. That this rising Covid cases will soon decline. 


https://unsplash.com/@lmtrochezz


I do not have the habit of pointing fingers to the whole institute of our government to blame. 


I read that some people claim that the ones that do not think/feel about the government's incompetency are among the 'privilege'. Honestly, I've been surviving since the pandemic, I can't do classes, I can't do events, my sales at the physical stores are plummeting and I am jobless since January. I now have anxiety, due to the stress but I am managing it. But not once, did I blame the government or others for all of my misfortunes. 


I feel like this is just another repetition, not once did Malaysian feel proud about its prime minister and the government. Do you remember all our former prime ministers during our teenage-adult life and the drama behind them? We keep on pushing and pushing, we told ourselves that none of these people are competent enough, we mocked them, we punished them, we forced them to resign, and we didn't even respect them. We forgot that these are human that can't really run from imperfection. That these are human just like us.


We are in a crisis, the pandemic is something totally foreign to all of us, no one is winning. We are all scared, we are all surviving, and yes, dying as well. But have a little faith, instead of mocking, fighting, blaming others, pointing fingers, let's just help one another. One step at the time. 


We are in a dire need of love and understanding. Focus on helping each other, focus on compassion. Always focus on the positive energies.


"That is why, with compassion, understanding is possible. When you look at aggressive people, you see that they suffer. They have violence in them, they have anger in them. They don't have much joy and compassion; that is why they suffer." - Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Let's stretch a bit more, let's hope the vaccination program goes well and everyone is protected soon. Let's remember that this as a test for us, in reminding us about what's important in life. I wish people will notice that we can't fight hate with hate. What you project to people, is who you truly are inside, so remember every time you mock, disrespect, or hate people, all those come from you.


Note : Yesterday it marked the highest Covid19 cases yet (+11k) and at the same time, we reached the second highest daily vaccination rate in the world, over 300,000 jabs administered daily. If you noticed, no one is looking at the positive side, everyone is only focusing on the negative part of the story. 


I just wish people can see both sides, I wish people can see that the government is also trying so hard and I can feel the exasperation when everything trending is all about the negative story. I don't agree with everything that is happening right now, but I try not to focus on poisoning my mind with the negativity during time like this. 


Despite all this, I just wish people can see the light at the end of the dark tunnel.

I wish you well, take care.