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3 Ways to Make Chronic Illness Less Scary (AWAP Wednesday)

Posted by on Jul 29, 2015 in acceptance, ChronicBabe Basics, fears, featured, inspiration, resilience | 6 comments

Today’s AWAP Wednesday video is all about fear. We ALL face fears, and we ChronicBabes especially face them all the time. But fear does NOT have to rule your life and your decision-making process. Watch today’s video, in which I offer three different tactics for facing fears. I think you’re gonna like them! *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: How have you faced your fears? Are you still struggling? I’m ready to hear it ALL. Join the conversation in the comments below, share your experience and ask for advice from our community. Want to watch more videos like this? Check out our AWAP Wednesday video playlist, which has almost seven hours of guidance, advice, and bloopers. Is there a question I can answer for YOU? Add it to the comments below, or shoot me an email. Until we meet again: Be AWAP! Smooches! (Rough) transcript: I’m afraid. I’m very afraid! But not of the usual stuff, like new diagnoses, money troubles, that mysterious bump on my back… I’m afraid about what FEAR is doing to us ChronicBabes. Today I want to share three tactics for chasing away fear so you can focus on craftng a life you love… despite the fear that SO MANY OF US face each day. Welcome! Today we’re chatting about fear and chronic illness Hi! I’m Jenni Prokopy of ChronicBabe.com and today is AWAP Wednesday (that stands for As Well As Possible). Each week, I offer you my favorite tips and techniques to help you craft an incredible life beyond illness. Yes! I know you can. Tactic: FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real Everybody feels fear at some point. Some of us feel it more often than others. My first fear-fighting tactic is to remind you that fear is — according to the old saying — False Evidence Appearing Real. Most fears well up inside our minds as we use our creative sides to imagine the worst possible scenarios. I know you… you’ve got an active imagination, right? Well STOP putting that to work on fear, if you can. When fear starts to show up, remind yourself there’s a chance that it’s False Evidence Appearing Real — that your mind is creating scenarios that aren’t based on facts, but based on something more nebulous. I find that reminder always calms my nerves. Tactic: 4-point plan for fighting fear One of my FAVORITE fear-fighting tactics is written on a Post-It note on the inside of my front door, so I see it every day. I can’t remember who shared it with me, but this is how it goes: Never worry alone. Get the facts. Make a plan. Repeat. Sounds simple, right? It’s super-powerful. First, fear likes it when you feel alone...

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AWAP Wednesday: How to Talk About Sex and Chronic Illness

Posted by on May 20, 2015 in caregivers, ChronicBabe Basics, fears, featured, pain, practicalities, relationships, sexuality | 6 comments

Today’s AWAP Wednesday video comes from a question I received from a fellow ChronicBabe: How do I talk with my partner and ask him to initiate the lovin’ and everything in between, when his attitude is “don’t touch the fragile flower lest it hurt her”? I’m so tired of it feeling so one-sided, it makes me feel like he’s not into me. Watch today’s video, in which I get… well… pretty specific with my recommendations: *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: How have you handle the sex conversation(s) in your relationships as a ChronicBabe? What’s worked? What hasn’t? I want to know! Join the conversation in the comments below, and share your experience. Want to watch more videos like this? Check out our AWAP Wednesday video playlist, which has more than six hours of guidance, advice, and bloopers. Is there a question I can answer for YOU? Add it to the comments below, or shoot me an email. Until we meet again: Be AWAP! Smooches! (Rough) Transcript: Great question! I’ve experienced this before, and I likely will again, as I suspect many of you have. When we have a partner who sees us in pain, suffering, it can be hard for them to relax and initiate—and participate in, with gusto—sexual activity. It’s common for our partners to be concerned that they may hurt us. This requires, in my experience, a gentle conversation beforehand. In this conversation, I usually express how I’m feeling that day. And I get specific, saying things like “I would love to make love to you, but I am having a lot of gastrointestinal pain, so no penetration, OK honey?” Or: “I really want to be close to you right now, and I feel pretty good, but I think it might be best to not be focused on achieving orgasm today because I took some meds that might impede it.” Or: “My skin is feeling extra sensitive today, so while I want to be intimate with you, I need you to shave your face first so your stubble doesn’t hurt my skin. Could you do that for me please?” When you couch these conversations in the framework of “I want to connect with you… I want to be intimate with you… I love you…” it makes it easier for your partner to hear you and understand, and to comply. Timing is also an issue. It might feel like it’s breaking the mood if you’re making out and then you start to take your clothes off… and then pause to explain your needs. But you’ve got to do it! The alternative is NOT explaining your needs, getting even more hot and heavy, and then having to stop mid-session because your partner accidentally did something to hurt you. That would suck....

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AWAP Wednesday: How to Avoid Overwhelm When Making Changes

Posted by on Jan 14, 2015 in coping, fears, featured, practicalities, resilience, Secret Club | 21 comments

Today’s AWAP Wednesday* question comes from one of our Secret Club members. This month, we’ve been focusing on the idea of CHANGE… how difficult it is, how we resist it, how we can learn to embrace it, etc. This babe is feeling really challenged: “So I’ve been good about changing up a few things the first week of January, then this week I went back to doing the things I always did before I tried to change them. Well, I’m feeling defeated… I was inspired to try to change things up and to keep working towards bigger change. I was wiped out from one week of mini changes, how to keep our change whether big or small going in spite of running out of gas?” This is a common experience, whether you have illness or not. I’ve got three tips to get her (and us!) back on track and avoid overwhelm: Now it’s your turn: Do you get overwhelmed by change? You’re not alone! Join the conversation in the comments below, and share your experience. Want to watch more videos like this? Check out our AWAP Wednesday video playlist, which has almost six hours of guidance, advice, and bloopers. Is there a question I can answer for YOU? Add it to the comments below, or shoot me an email. Until we meet again: Be AWAP! Smooches! *AWAP = As Well As Possible Rough Transcript: I’ve been challenging our Secret Club members to step it up this month and adapt some changes. I encouraged them to start small – so as not to get overwhelmed. But listen to what one member has to say: “So I’ve been good about changing up a few things the first week of January, then this week I went back to doing the things I always did before I tried to change them. Well, I’m feeling defeated… I was inspired to try to change things up and to keep working towards bigger change. I was wiped out from one week of mini changes, how to keep our change whether big or small going in spite of running out of gas?” Change is hard! It takes a lot of mental energy, and sometimes physical energy, and definitely emotional energy. So I always encourage folks to start small. Start where you are Tennis great Arthur Ashe said, “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” This is a philosophy I’ve adopted for making changes; if we get too caught up in where we’re going, it can be hard to stay motivated about where we are right now. One way to reinforce the “start where you are” idea is to do a little reality check. Write out a goal for...

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AWAP Wednesday: How Can We Embrace Change? (Get Curious!)

Posted by on Jan 7, 2015 in acceptance, ChronicBabe Basics, coping, fears, featured, resilience | 1 comment

Today’s AWAP Wednesday* is one I think makes perfect sense for the new year. It’s all about change—why we resist it, and how we can learn to stop being so afraid…and become more excited about the awesome possibilities. I’ve got a tip from a trusted colleague that I think can help even the most change-averse in our community… Watch now as I entertain and educate from my living room (it’s freezing here in Chicago, so I’m by the fire!): Now it’s your turn: Are you afraid of change, or do you embrace it? What has worked for you? What frustrates you? Do you think my tip from the video is nutso? Join the conversation in the comments below. Want to watch more videos like this? Check out our AWAP Wednesday video playlist, which has almost six hours of guidance, advice, and bloopers. Is there a question I can answer for YOU? Add it to the comments below, or shoot me an email. Until we meet again: Be AWAP! Smooches! *AWAP = As Well As...

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AWAP Wednesday: How Can I Learn Sexual Confidence In Spite of Illness/Disability?

Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in ChronicBabe Basics, fears, featured, relationships, sexuality | 12 comments

Today’s AWAP Wednesday* video answers a question from a fellow ChronicBabe. She’s wondering how to get more comfortable with her sexuality so she can have confidence in dating… but she feels somewhat limited by her inability to have what is considered “sex” in popular culture. I’ve got news for her (and you): There is no “normal” sex. There is no standard way to do it. Once we stop measuring ourselves against this narrow standard, the experience gets a whole lot easier. Here’s my advice to her and any other women with chronic illness who want to explore their sexuality with confidence: Now it’s your turn: Now it’s your turn: How have you handled the challenge of exploring your sexuality after chronic illness or disability shows up? How do you research your options? How do you handle initial conversations on dates? I want to know! Join the conversation in the comments below. Want to watch more videos like this? Check out our AWAP Wednesday video playlist, which has almost six hours of guidance, advice, and bloopers. Is there a question I can answer for YOU? Add it to the comments below, or shoot me an email. Until we meet again: Be AWAP! Smooches! *AWAP = As Well As Possible A (rough) transcript: Q: I wonder if you could address sex/sexuality and chronic illness. Obviously everyone is effected differently by their illness. I can’t have what is generally considered “sex” by our culture, but I can enjoy some sexual pleasure with another patient, imaginative person or by myself. Still I find myself feeling insecure and overwhelmed when I think of embarking on a new relationship or even furthering my own exploration of my sexuality. A: Great question. You’re a brave babe for asking it, too, because most people are too afraid to talk about sex. But not me! Because we’re not talking face-to-face, I’m not sure how you define “what is generally considered ‘sex’ by our culture.” I’m going to assume you’re talking about consensual, missionary, penetration-style sex between a man and a woman. Don’t worry, you’re normal So let’s shatter the myth right now that you’re not “normal” if that’s not your scene. Plenty of people — and when I say people, I mean women and men, straight, gay, bisexual or transgendered individuals because this conversation is all-inclusive — plenty of people never have what our culture narrowly defines as “sex,” because it doesn’t work for them. That might be because they have limitations from disability or illness, or they just may not be into that kind of thing. Get to know yourself sexually The best way for you to build confidence, in my book, is to get to know yourself. The more you try new things...

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AWAP Wednesday: How Do I Handle Fear of Success?

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in acceptance, career, fears, featured, friends and family, practicalities, Work | 7 comments

Today’s AWAP Wednesday video answers a question that I hear over and over and over again: What happens if I start to get better? What happens if I succeed, will people expect even more? What happens if I can’t  live up to their expectations? (The question-asker was reading this post on Tiny Buddha which sparked her question.) In the video, I offer a strategy I’ve used in my own life to cope with fears of success. I think we all face this at some time or another, so I’m excited to share a strategy that really works for me. Check out the video now: Now it’s your turn: How do you face fear about success? Have you had difficult situations or conversations about getting better but not meeting the expectations of others? I’d love it if you shared your story in the comments below this video’s post. We have AWESOME conversations every day at the site and I would LOVE for you to be part of the community! Did you like this video? Please “like” it on YouTube or Facebook and share it with your friends through social media. Want to watch more videos like this? Check out our AWAP Wednesday video playlist, which has more than five hours of guidance, advice, and bloopers. Is there a question I can answer for YOU? Add it to the comments below, or shoot me an email. Until we meet again: Be AWAP! Smooches! *AWAP = As Well As Possible A (rough) transcript: A fellow ChronicBabe writes: I was reading a post on Tiny Buddha and it hit me between the eyes, and is really your message in many ways: ‘You know what I was really terrified of? Deep inside of me, there was the awareness that, even if I fit every symptom in the book, I had no excuse to live half a life. Somewhere in there I knew I wasn’t really broken. I was terrified of what my responsibilities would be if I allowed myself to be, truly, whole.’ So, how do you address the fear of being AWAP? If I start to put myself out there and things start to take off… what if I can’t keep up? I’m truly terrified of that!!! Usually meeting one responsibility well means more will be added… Thanks for all you do and for inspiring me and addressing the tough stuff. Well first, thank YOU for your gratitude and trust. I do try to hit the tough topics, and this is definitely one of them that I, myself, fear sometimes. When the question of “what will I do if things go really well?” comes up for me, I try to take a breath. Paradoxically, if I’m fearing success, it usually means...

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Info posted here should not be considered medical advice; it's not intended to replace consultation with physicians or other health care providers. 

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Take what you like from this space, and leave the rest. Use what you learn to make your life better. Be responsible for your own choices. And please don’t sue us. XO!

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