Fibromyalgia || My Story


My name is Anne, well, Rebecca-Anne but I prefer Anne. At this particular moment in time, I'm 19 years old. I'm a Gemini. I was born and raised in North Wales by my mother. I can barely speak a word of Welsh. I've been in love twice, and am unashamed to have belief that it's possible to love at a young age. I care far too much about what people think of me - both loved ones and strangers. I dismiss my passions too easily, as I lack confidence in almost everything I do. I'm a cat person. I enjoy the atmosphere of a moment more than the occasion that brought it on. I hate opening presents in front of people. I volunteer when I can as I enjoy the freedom it offers. I want short hair but always chicken out. I dress up when it's unnecessary as I think that people who are looking at your clothes, aren't looking at you. If you passed me by on the street, you wouldn't bat an eye. I look like your average young girl, with what you might assume to be a bright future at her feet. I look like I have my life together, and people often compliment my mother on just that. I dress smartly, have good manners to those who speak with me, I smile as though it's always the simplest of things. But I'm not that girl.

Fibromyalgia is found under the category of "invisible illnesses". It's something that sounds made-up when you list the symptoms, as it seems unlikely that so many things can affect one human being without driving them insane. I was officially diagnosed at 16, but had been to countless appointments about my odd variety of complaints since I was 12. Three years I have "officially" had this illness and the doctors have offered therapy, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, pain clinics, short term medications.. but they can't offer a long term solution. They can instead only offer temporary band aids to cover the parts that are screaming at that particular moment in time. Barring the pain clinic - which I'll be starting at the beginning of next month, I have done them all. So far, nothing has helped or offered relief.

Like most illnesses, each individual's symptoms differ. Mine include widespread pain after what my body classes as strenuous activity (grocery shopping, walking the dog, cleaning my bedroom, sleeping too long), inflammation of the joints, joint stiffness, skin sensitivity, insomnia, migraines, fatigue, nausea, loss of eye-sight, muscle spasms, bruising, inability to concentrate, and low blood pressure. Sounds made up, right? You can't see it show up on any medical chart, nor can you get a 100% accurate diagnosis from blood work. It's instead like a game of Tetris. All the symptoms acting as the colourful blocks until ding, ding, ding you've reached the top and are officially a Fibro victim. Much like the game, reaching the top means you lost. That's a terrible analogy and I'm pretty sure there aren't any dings in Tetris, but I hope you see what I meant.

Fibromyalgia is supposedly triggered by some life changing tragic event - whether on your body or in your life. I wouldn't say I have had either so I cannot relate to that, but know of many who have connected an event to their diagnosis. I simply began to experience abnormal pains at a young age. 

I haven't found a magical cure yet, nor have I found anything that really soothes the pain. My mother continues to push a hot water bottle at me when my back is aching, but it doesn't help. Just makes me sweaty. It's rather bitter-sweet - family and friends. I spent the first half of today, or rather, yesterday, running a temperature in my bed with a banging headache, sick at the back of my throat, and pain shooting up and down my spine. I took some painkillers and lay there for 2 hours until eventually drifting back off. My mother was in the next room and my boyfriend was a phone call away, but I didn't see the point in telling anyone. They can't do anything and in honesty, I'm sick of telling people what hurts when I'm unable to show them evidence of it. I sometimes wish there was a thick gash on my arm with blood pooling around my bed, as I would then feel better in going "Hey, hi, yeah. I'm in pain here. Mind keeping me company until it stops?" It isn't even a matter of feeling as though I'm burdening them, or feeling like they don't care. As neither of those are true. It's simply a matter of feeling as though it would be pointless. A waste of breath when I can lay there and wait for it to ease all by myself. 

As you may of seen from my previous (and future, it's coming, I promise) Scotland post, I went on a little vacation with my partner. And my body didn't react well to it at all. I spent one night in Edinburgh literally shaking for a solid 3 hours - making me wish I was spineless in the process, and unable to stand without falling right back down. It was the first time this illness has terrified me. When I could barely muster the strength to grip the edge of the bed to pull myself up, and to then experience the sensation of my knees and ankles giving out from under me.. It was indescribable. I'm a 19 year old girl and my joints felt as though they were those of a 90 year old. My partner had to help me to the bathroom (which he thankfully doesn't remember. Let's all take a moment of gratitude for sleepy brains.), and I spilt water down my front as I couldn't hold the glass steady enough to bring it to my lips. The following day I felt as though I was hit by a bus. We took it easy and did a small walk down the town, which was torture. Every breath hurt like hell, my sides and back felt as though they were covered in dark ugly bruises. The pain was close to unbearable. I fell asleep at 07:30pm. I'm a young adult, I was in a city I had never been to, and I was fast asleep by 8pm because my body didn't have the strength to hold it together for a couple more hours. I was ashamed of my health, and still am. 

There is no direction for this post, nor is there a reason for my writing it. It's 06:19am and I'm at a loss. I've spent half the night worrying over the future - my future. My back is throbbing like it has been for the past few days, and my leg continues to give me a good ol' sharp pain when I straighten it, all because I was stupid and did some yoga as a Instagram post made me feel like crap for not working out. (Social Media is a wonderful thing, but acts as the devil for anyone who is either lonely or stuck in the house.) 

I'm, ironically, a carer for my mum. I don't study as I haven't the funds for online education, and my health wouldn't handle going to an actual college. I can't get a part-time job due to Fibro. I'm uncertain as to whether I can will myself to have children, knowing that they may inherit this and/or the Porphyria gene - the kidney disease that is the reason behind my being a carer. As mentioned above, I volunteer when I can but that is becoming increasingly less due to the pain. I write for fun, but struggle as my wrists begin to ache and creak. It feels like every good thing has a flip side - that side constantly being pain.

I take Circadin to help me sleep, Dihydrocodeine on the bad days, Cyclizine for the nausea, Ibroprofen in hopes that they might miraculously help, and something for the inflammation (which also doubles as a stronger painkiller when mixed with Ibroprofen), but I can't find the box and haven't the faintest chance of knowing what they're called. I've tried the bath salts, oils, gels, creams, but alas, I sit here today with no recommendations to you on what could help anyone who is going through this. I'd like to say I've come to terms with that, but I haven't, I still have those days where it gets a little too much. I'm a part of this lovely little community on Facebook that was made for people with these types of illnesses and although I act more as a bystander and watch/read what others have to say without contributing much - I find it interesting how most are upset by their stories (though I entirely understand why). I'm more fearful. Of what I'll be feeling in another 5 years time, - how I'll cope. I can't concentrate on the now as I fear I'll implode at the situation I'm in. 

People look at me with disgust when they see my Grandma carrying two shopping bags and my hands are empty. People expect me to able to lift boxes or move things as I'm "a strong young woman". People don't understand and I can't expect them to, as I barely understand myself - both theoretically and literally speaking. It's consuming but sometimes too easy to forget. It's my life but isn't what should dominate it. I struggle to find a balance, and I imagine many who walk in similar shoes will understand that. You can't allow an illness to control you, but it's difficult to follow that rule when every move you make in life will trigger said illness. Mind boggling. 

I'm just a girl and the world I have at my feet is seeming smaller by the day. I have it better than most, I don't doubt that and I'm thankful for the life I have been given, even during the bad days. My life will be okay, no matter where it leads. I'll aim for great but am willing to settle for okay. The bad days pass, whether after 24 hours or a longer period of time. We all find our good days again. Much like a storm, you just have to wait somewhere safe until it passes. Thankfully I'm also the type of person who finds rain beautiful. 

- Anne x

Loch Ness: Glamping, Exhibition, Food.


I was going to write a monster post about my week long vacation in Scotland, but figured small snippets from each place would be more efficient for you and for my sanity. So here we have our first stop, Loch Ness! The drive up there from North Wales was fun for me, but likely brutal for my better half who kindly drove. So many things went wrong along the way, but sometimes you just have to look past them and force your company to listen to many, many, many Glee songs and watch as he shakes his head in shame (he loved it really). The views were breathtaking and the long stretch of 108 miles on a single road was.. fun. Especially for those 10 miles that were spent with a limited amount of gas, a desperation to pee and no sign of a station or anything as we were literally in the middle of nowhere. Fuel up and pee at every possible opportunity, kids.

Eventually we got to our destination and arrived at roughly 9:30pm on the Sunday, April 17th.

Where We Stayed: When myself and the boyfriend decided to drive up to Scotland we knew we wanted to visit Loch Ness. It wasn't even a question. And as the one responsible of our accommodation, I began to look for an Inn or something similar that was reasonably priced for the two nights that we'd be there. That is how I stumbled across the Loch Ness Glamping site.

Loch Ness GlampingWhen I say Glamping, you may think of something Only Way Is Essex style and instantly want to mock me. It's okay, I did the same to myself when I first brought up the idea. But it was actually really beautiful and at £58 per night, far cheaper than most things I was finding. I want to add that never in my life have I gone camping. I'd love to but I've never known how I would handle it. I'm not overly fond of nature (grass phobia, it's a thing), and I'm usually freezing in a house that has central heating. See where I'm going with this? I digress. This was a new territory to me, and if anything, it's made me want to actually camp.

We opted to stay in an Armardilla (Number 3, to be precise), and it was perfect. We arrived quite late due to the drive and the owners of the property, Sonia and Graham, were nothing but understanding. Upon arrival, Sonia came out to greet us and after showing us the accommodation suggested that we pay in the morning to save us from having to trek back to the car, which I thought was very kind. I'd like to quickly add that when I was researching our options, they were also incredibly helpful through email and responded quickly. Little things, but admirable. All of which add to the experience of your stay.

In the Armadilla itself, you have your double bed, TV, a mini wet room meaning you could shower in privacy (quite a few Glamping sites offer community showers only), a kettle, toaster, fridge, under bed storage, draws, small closet and outside bins. Even wifi. Everything you could really need. You also have the option of a cooked breakfast delivered right to your door in the morning for an additional £7.50 per person. We chose to do that for our first morning only. It wasn't the best breakfast we've ever had for the price, but you're paying for their incredible hospitality and convenience of having hot food brought to your doorstep. So I think it's fair. A photo of my partner's breakfast is below, as I blanked on taking one of my veggie option. Speaking of, I think it's great that they offer both a vegetarian AND vegan cooked breakfast. Many places wouldn't go to the trouble.

Also at Loch Ness Glamping, you have your own private BBQ/fire pit and outdoor seating area. We wanted to use ours to make smores but wound up going out for dinner instead, which I'll get onto in a moment. Lastly at the site, there are two indoor BBQ houses (pictured below), which you share with the other campers. Inside there is the BBQ itself, a microwave, and seating. A great idea if you're travelling and wish to meet new people. It may be worth mentioning that you buy the coal separately from reception.

Bonus photo: On the second day we were greeted back at the site with a double rainbow. 
All in all, I would highly recommend Loch Ness Glamping. The only slight downfall of the place is the bathroom fan, as odd as that may sound. Placed right next to the main light, it is really easy to accidentally knock both at the same. Which would be fine, except one quick flick of that switch and you will be stuck with the whirling sound of the fan for a good 30 minutes. It was maddening, especially at bed time. But not a deal breaker and likely uncontrollable.

Where We Ate 
Food. Probably the second best thing about a vacation. I'll admit we didn't go crazy in trying new things, but my better half did develop a fondness for Irn Bru and tried Haggis, twice. Nutter. So I have two mini restaurant reviews for you. Exciting stuff, especially as I'm so good at reviewing stuff (sarcasm).

The Loch Ness Inn: On our second day but first proper night in Scotland, we went out for dinner to The Loch Ness Inn. The restaurant offers a free pick-up and drop-off service for anyone staying within 5 miles of the place, which was what we chose to do. Might I just add how much of a nice touch that is, especially if only one person of your party can drive. The food was great, the atmosphere even better, and the service was excellent. All staff were really friendly and happy to engage in conversation with you. They offer a range of Ale options from the local Loch Ness brewery that sits a short walk away from the restaurant itself, which my partner would recommend to you. He had the beef and I had pasta - the range of veggie options isn't spectacular, I think there were two on the menu and one on the specials board, but if you know that going in, it's no biggie.

It was a lovely place for a spontaneous date, and I would definitely recommend it if you're staying in the area. I failed miserably at taking photos of my food during this trip, but my partner did so I'll just keep putting his at the end of these restaurant "reviews".

The Dores Inn: The Dores Inn was a miracle in our eyes. Located in a beautiful spot right near the water (pictured far, far below), it was the perfect spot to round up the Loch Ness part of our trip. The restaurant itself has a warm interior, with comfortable seating. The food was really good. On the menu there were your classic pub dishes as well as options you wouldn't find in most places, a nice mix for the traditional and foodies. Near the bar they offered a range of homemade cake slices, which I had to steer my partner away from. It was.. comfortable. I think that sums it up. You didn't feel rushed or out of place, the scenery was beautiful and I imagine it could be a rather romantic option in the evening.

My partner had the haggis stuffed chicken, which he has now decided was his favourite meal during the trip. I was plain and ordered a Quorn burger, but it was very good and a nice change of pace than a regular vegetable burger, which is what most places offer. Once again, I forgot to take a photo but my cameraman took a snapshot of his.

Things We Did
I wasn't feeling too well after the car journey (thanks Fibro), and although my ever understanding partner didn't mind staying in and simply watching something together, we had to do some touristy things. I mean, we were in Scotland! So be prepared for tourist cheesiness in this section of these blog posts.

Loch Ness Exhibition: The Exhibition is situated just down the road from the Glamping site, so it seemed like a smart choice for our first day. It was enjoyable but in the words of my guy: it's a tourist trap. And bloody expensive for what it as. I think you have to do some cliché touristy things when in certain areas as it all adds to the experience, but would I go again or recommend it to someone/you? Maybe not. It's mostly a lot of sitting and watching a projector as they tell us how Nessie isn't real. You may be better off spending your money elsewhere.

Loch Ness: After checking out of Loch Ness Glamping, we went on the maddening search for the actual water of Loch Ness. It really ought to of been simple, but we were either blind or the roads are lacking in clear directions. Either way, we were driving in circles for an embarrassing amount of time. Every person we had asked prior to the search recommended going to Urquhart Castle to take in the views and for the historical aspect, which was the initial plan. But I still wasn't feeling well, thus making the justification of spending close to £20 to look at something that we ought to be able to do for free just plain silly. Food was our saviour. Unknown to us, The Dores Inn sits right near the water and I would like to thank our driver the previous night for suggesting we eat there.

So after lunch, we wandered out and took in the scenery. I'll let the photos do the talking for this one, as no words can do it justice.

Please excuse my deformed looking hand in the last photo. And that damn strand of hair. I felt and looked like a mess that day. But the views were beautiful and it was the perfect end to our 2 day trip. From there we got in the car and drove down to Edinburgh, which I'll get onto in the next Scotland post.

We didn't do a whole bunch, but we accomplished what we wanted and will hopefully one day return for a more backpacking type trip. Health can just be a bitch. You have to enjoy what little moments you can manage. I'll be eternally grateful for how much patience that man pictured above had with me for the duration of the week. It was his vacation and he never once made me feel bad for unintentionally ruining some of our plans. I'm a very lucky gal, that's for sure. I'd also like to thank him for unknowingly adding to the blog post with his camera skills, all credit goes to him. You can read his movie/TV review blog posts, right here on the SomewhatNerdy site. Just saying.

Hope you're having a lovely day, and thank you for taking the time to read this ramble of a blog post. The second part covering Edinburgh will be up soon.

- Anne x

Book Review || Room by Emma Donoghue.


Hello there blogger earthlings and trusted readers, yes, I'm alive. As you may notice, I've abandoned my blog for a good month and a half. Usually I'd be apologizing for that, but to be frank, I'm anything but sorry. During the first three weeks of April, I was having the most wonderful time with my better half. Travelling, doing touristy things, and just enjoying each others company with barely any Internet time. It was refreshing, but I'll delve into that whole thing on my next blog post. Stay tuned.

Today I'm going to write up a quick review on a book that I put down not 10 minutes ago. You've probably heard of Room by Emma Donoghue, whether by a friends recommendation or the latest news on the movie. It's a No. 1 Bestseller and as I just mentioned, it's been adapted into a movie starring Brie Larson as Ma and Jacob Tremblay as our protagonist Jack. But I'll talk more about that later, for now let's concentrate on the novel..

In Room we follow the story of 5 year old Jack and his Ma, both of whom live in a renovated shed that their capture "Old Nick" has turned into a.. well, room - Ma's home for the last 7 years and all that little Jack has ever known. We don't know why they're there straight off the bat, nor do we know whether they can get out. That's all revealed to us as it's revealed to Jack, which I like. I've always favoured stories that are written in first person, and Room is no exception. 

To be entirely honest, Room isn't what I was expecting and I can't really give a detailed description of the story without giving spoilers which I want to avoid at all cost. So trust me when I say that it's a beautifully written novel. As there are very few characters, you quickly grow attached to them and their development (especially Jack's) is a wonderful thing to read. For some reason I was expecting a tense and suspense-fuelled read, but what I got instead was a endearing story about what comes after a story ends. That may not make sense, but it might if you read it. 

I would advise anyone to give Room a go, if they have the time. It comes in at 401 pages and I finished it in a little over 3 hours. Yes, I read it in one sitting and I think that aided in my ability to be sucked completely into the story. Not once did I look at the time, nor did I grow tired of reading from the perspective of a five year old, which, to be truthful, I thought I would. There aren't chapters to this book, it's in 5 parts and in my opinion, you ought to read it like that.  Thinking about it, you have to be in the right mood for Room. You need the silence around you. Truthfully, I'm uncertain as to whether I would of remained consistent with it if it were not for today. I might have put the book aside and then lost the atmosphere, ruining the experience of the story as I dipped in and out of it. 
It's an experience more than entertaining, one you ought to go through in pace with Jack. 

If I were a book reviewer or on Goodreads (I really should get on that), I'd rate Room a 4 out of 5.  

Now let's quickly mention the movie adaptation that I haven't seen, nor do I have any plans to. Normally I wouldn't mention anything about it, because why would I? I haven't seen the movie. What on earth could I possibly say about it? Well, definitely one thing.. Don't watch that trailer if you're even thinking of reading Room, as it dismisses the first third of the book and completely spoils one of the focal things in the book. As in, practically shows the whole scene. I may be bias and many people who haven't read it may have already heard spoilers or whatnot, but I still can't wrap my head around why they would completely give away most of the story in the first 20 seconds of the trailer. I'll stop ranting now. But, really? Oh, and my other vice with the trailer is, what the heck were those scenes? I spotted at least 3 that weren't in the book. Movie adaptations are known to cut scenes from the book to fit into their time restraint, so why add other scenes causing you to lose more that were actually in the book? At least the casting is half decent, unlike Dark Places that cast purely on actor recognition. 

To put it simply, a movie adaptation is never going to work tremendously well when the entirety of the book they're basing it off is built around you - the reader - experiencing the world through the eyes of a five year old boy. You simply can't translate that to screen, which is why stories like this are usually told in written form. Ah well. 

If you do see the movie, tweet me at @RootingBranches and give me your thoughts. I'd love to know them! 

Look out for my Scotland stuffed blog post coming your way later this week. 

- Anne x

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