Why I’m So Grateful for Gratitude

Why I’m So Grateful for Gratitude

Life Coaching, Mindset, Personal Story
It helped me stop feeling like a victim! My alarm was blaring and I reached around clumsily, my eyes still closed trying to make the noise stop. I was angry and frustrated with my poor night of sleep. I had a horrific dream about someone I loved being tortured, and I stayed up for an hour trying to change my thought process to avoid going back into the same nightmare again. The images were fuzzy and dark, but I knew they would be stuck in my mind all day. I stumbled to the bathroom, stubbed my toe on, and slipped in water on my bathroom floor. My partner had left the shower curtain outside the tub, and the whole floor was soaked. I was lucky I hadn't hit my head,…
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I Got a Daith Piercing for Migraines

I Got a Daith Piercing for Migraines

Personal Story
And accept that I don’t need to be cured to be okay Knowing that others have been “cured” of chronic migraines makes me feel like there is something that I should be able to do that would “fix me.” I already follow a ketogenic diet to manage narcolepsy. I stopped using artificial sweeteners, and quit drinking alcohol. I practice mindfulness and use energy therapy like EFT, the Emotion Code, and Reiki. What more do I need to do? The answer is nothing. I don’t need to be fixed. I’m not broken. (Neither are you.) Pain is a part of human existence, and everyone experiences it in one way or another. My version is no better or worse than anybody else’s. So what I need to work on is acceptance. I need to…
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The Importance of Relationships with Narcolepsy or Without

The Importance of Relationships with Narcolepsy or Without

Narcolepsy, Personal Story
Building relationships with narcolepsy can be a challenge due to my limited social life. I'm standing outside a huge fancy house with a glass of red wine in my hand staring at a sea of people I don't know.  I feel completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of people at the party, but at least half of them work with my partner. [caption id="attachment_1154" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Photo by Andreas Rønningen on Unsplash[/caption] My partner has not even made it to the drink table due to so many people wanting to stop and chat.  I escaped, knowing the formal handshakes and cheek kisses that are obligatory in these social situations tire me out quickly. How I Handle It I gravitate toward the one woman I know, a friend.   We chat for…
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Meeting a Princess Burmese Python

Meeting a Princess Burmese Python

Personal Story, Travel
I was expecting just another Burmese Python Sweat drips from my brow as I dismount the motorbike that has carried me from one side of Bago, Myanmar to the other. There are no expectations of meeting a princess because, to be honest, I haven’t done any research for this trip. Bago is just about an hour and a half away from Yangon, where I live.  My partner had to go for work and I tagged along. When I saw a place on the map labeled Snake Pagoda, I looked at the images and decided to go. It's easy to feel the greatness of the place the moment my feet are on steady ground.  In Southeast Asia, a pagoda is a cone-shaped monumental structure constructed in memory of Buddha. In Myanmar, one…
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Choosing Life

Choosing Life

Personal Story
Choosing life didn't even feel like an option when I was depressed...  One morning I heard my alarm ringing. I buried my head under the pillow, like covering my head in cotton would make the day dissipate. My roommate threw a book at my legs to get my attention. I regretted that the sound was also disturbing her rest, so I sat up and turned it off.  As I hunkered there below the ceiling taking shallow breaths, exasperated before even leaving my lofted bed, I vowed to myself this wouldn’t go on much longer. I was 18 years old, and for the previous months, I had been applying to colleges. But I didn’t see myself [caption id="attachment_976" align="alignright" width="225"] This was me in April 2010[/caption] there. I didn’t see myself…
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Letter From a Person Living with Narcolepsy

Letter From a Person Living with Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy, Personal Story
Dear friend, Do you remember that time we had big plans to do something amazing on the weekend? I told you at the last minute that I really wanted to go but I just couldn’t do it.  Well, I remember it. Because it was hard for me to make the decision to take care of myself instead of going to do something fun that I was really looking forward to. What did I do that day? Instead, I spent the day making sure I had healthy food lined up for the week. As part of my self-care routine, I took a few short controlled naps. Focused on physical and mental health, I drank a gallon of water and meditated. I arranged my calendar for the week so I would not…
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From Self-Hate to Self-Love

From Self-Hate to Self-Love

Mindset, Personal Story
Her small hands hesitate just the slightest bit as they brush over the thick pink scars.  Brown eyes meet mine and then immediately flick back down to the rushing water of the pedicure chair. Her eyes pry, "What happened to you?" or "Who did this to you?" I can't be sure which. (more…)
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Breaking up with Keto – Stopping the Ketogenic Diet

Breaking up with Keto – Stopping the Ketogenic Diet

Mindset, Personal Story
So, I've got a theory about stopping the ketogenic diet.  It is a theory that I am ready to test out; my mind is more powerful than my body.  You see, my whole life I've worked to try to fix my body, trying to do things to it to make it better, to change it.  For as long as I can remember, I have fought with my body. Today I've decided to surrender. Narcolepsy My parents and I searched for something to explain my insurmountable sleepiness and lack of energy. When I was about 13 years old, I was diagnosed with narcolepsy.   Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that disturbs the sleep-wake cycle.  But little did I know, its more than just feeling sleepy.  I took that diagnosis and wrapped it…
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Cataplexy in a Cathedral

Cataplexy in a Cathedral

Narcolepsy, Personal Story, Travel
Sharing a plate of fried watercress, a heaping dish of tea leaf salad, and a bowl of eggplant curry, I found myself saying more about my chronic illness than I ever expected to disclose on a first encounter. I heard myself explaining things my body does in words I had never strung together verbally before. Maybe it was the second glass of wine, or maybe it was the humid air, the colorful Myanmar decor, and the attentive listener on the other side of the able. He seemed genuinely interested in how a person with narcolepsy had come to travel as a lifestyle choice. (more…)
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Scared of the Dark: The Narcolepsy Symptoms That Nobody Talks About

Scared of the Dark: The Narcolepsy Symptoms That Nobody Talks About

Narcolepsy, Personal Story
One night around age eight, I was lying in bed thinking of the fun I had had that day with my family. I opened my eyes slowly to see a huge, hairy, manlike monster hovering above me on the ceiling. His appendages stuck to the plaster effortlessly, like a giant spider, and I could see his gigantic teeth waiting to sink into my flesh. I was completely paralyzed. So much that I couldn’t even scream. I lay there on my Care Bear sheets, trapped in my own body, unable to even clench my fists, or turn my head away from the terrifying sight above me. He dropped onto my chest, and I could feel the enormous pressure of his weight. The next thing I knew, it was morning. As a…
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Digital Nomad or Hobo – Which label fits?

Digital Nomad or Hobo – Which label fits?

Mindset, Narcolepsy, Personal Story
Am I a digital nomad or hobo?  The label of "Digital Nomad" generally calls up images of social media influencers, relaxing on the beach, posting pictures that make everyone jealous.  While I do enjoy sharing my travel experiences, I am not quite on that level. But am I a hobo? I am an English teacher who just happens to work online. I use that advantage to travel as much as possible. But how did I get here? Was it a choice? Which phrase fits, digital nomad or hobo? (more…)
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Tips for Riding a Sleeper Bus in Vietnam

Tips for Riding a Sleeper Bus in Vietnam

Personal Story, Travel
Before my sleeper bus experience, I had never imagined being asked to take my shoes off as I entered a public bus.  But when you get on an overnight sleeper bus, it makes a lot of sense.  An attendant held out a black plastic bag for me to place my shoes in. I continued barefoot down the aisle to my very own reclined sleeper seat. (more…)
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Healthcare in Auxiliar Program Spain

Healthcare in Auxiliar Program Spain

Narcolepsy, Personal Story, Travel
In 2014 I applied for the Ministries of Spain Auxiliares program on a whim. I didn't know the healthcare in the auxiliar program in Spain would be so great! I was also considering teaching in Asia for programs like EPIK and HESS. I had promised myself I was going wherever I got an offer first because I had to get out of the USA. The day the email came telling me I had a position in Spain I couldn’t believe it. I was going to be living in Ibiza! Everything happened pretty quickly since I got my carta mid-summer. I had to quit my full-time job, sell all my furniture, get the Spanish student visa in Chicago, and physically move to Spain! But of course, there were some worries. I…
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Intermittent Fasting for Narcolepsy

Intermittent Fasting for Narcolepsy

Diet, Lifestyle, Personal Story
Intermittent Fasting for Narcolepsy Have you ever tried intermittent fasting for narcolepsy? I would love to hear about your experience! I’ve seen the term a million times in the keto community, but I always tell myself I am doing well enough with what I have. There is no need to make it more complicated.  I enjoy my early morning coffees and snacks throughout the day that fit my ketogenic diet. But lately I’ve been lacking mental clarity and I’m ready to try something new. I started looking into fasting, which seems very travel-friendly. I gave myself the weekend to wrap my head around it and decided I would dive in on Monday. Today is my first day. I have decided to start with the 16/8 method that I learned about…
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