Traversing Rough Waters

Paradigm Shift

paradigm shift
sometimes the impossible
is still possible

depleted options
yet still crossing rough waters

There are situations where the impossible really is impossible.  But there are also times when the seemingly impossible is possible if we can look at those situations from a different angle or perspective.  We don’t always have to think of those alternatives on our own.  Sometimes a phrase, a comment, or a suggestion from someone else at the right time or place can get us to consider things differently.  One does not have to traverse rough waters in a boat if it is not available.  Sometimes “leaves” (metaphorically) will get us across.

A couple of examples:

Three years ago, when my doctors told me they “couldn’t do any more for me,” I hadn’t thought about alternative medicine as an option.  After hearing the doctors’ dreadful words, I was devastated and thought my situation was hopeless.  Was I to remain nonfunctional and debilitated forever?  My pain psychologist then suggested I try alternative medicine and said, “What do you have to lose?”  He said I needed to stop relying on doctors to provide answers for my undiagnosed conditions, because I kept running into dead ends.  He was right.  The alternative route has been better, gentler and healthier for those issues.

My fragrance and chemical sensitivities are a struggle because it has lead to increasing isolation and a significantly decreased social life.  Although it has made me appreciate nature more, and has resulted in doing more activities in nature, we still try to think of ways where I can get out into society and minimize my exposures at the same time.  We still need contact with other people where possible, and I don’t want to live in total recluse.  Here are a few ways we have adjusted:

  • My hubby and mother are fragrance free 100% of the time, and my two best friends are fragrance free when I’m with them.
  • We can have people in our home if they are fragrance free when they come.  I can visit friends and family if their home is fragrance free while I am there.
  • I can still go out to eat if the establishment isn’t using air fresheners or scented candles, and I am not seated next to others wearing heavier fragrance.  I have kindly asked to be moved to a different table before.
  • I can go to a movie theatre if it is a matinée (cheaper) and/or the theatre doesn’t have many occupants.  That way I can move to a different seat if I have to.
  • I can go into shops if they are not using air fresheners or other fragrances.
  • I can go to departments stores if I stay away from the perfume and fragrances section.
  • Etc., etc., etc.

As I’ve mentioned in previous postings, I still have a long way to go with my health and chronic pain, and I still have rough setbacks, but I have improved from three years ago.  I still struggle and get discouraged at times, but I have to remember that in reality, there is still hope and there are still options.

What are some examples of where you are using “leaves” instead of “boats” to get across rough waters?


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. victoriaaphotographyictoria
    Jun 11, 2013 @ 18:55:30

    I follow similar situations as yourself, although I find the sicker and more symptomatic I am with my Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue, the less I can tolerate chemicals & fragrances.
    In 2004, I couldn’t go into any situation (dept store or shop or crowd or social life) without feeling extremely ill (and sometimes, even unable to breath).

    Today, retired from work and therefore having no reason to go into these public or social situations, I am much, much better.

    My biggest problem these days is catching public transport which may be crowded and therefore being exposed to a particular deodorant/body spray which I can’t tolerate (or breath). I think it’s the cedarwood in these products. Sometimes I can move to the other end of the tram/bus etc. On rare occasions, I actually have to get off the tram and walk home or find another tram/bus. But I do try to avoid coming home in peak hour.

    Luckily, my immediate friends and family don’t wear perfumes or if they do, I ask them to refrain from wearing it when we’re together.
    As soon as I’m ill (not often nowadays), my reaction to anything becomes intensified again.

    I do think continued daily exposure makes the reactions much higher. I was in hospital for surgery last May (2012) and had to ask the staff to request the cleaners not clean my ajoining bathroom in my private room until after I had left the hospital (due to some sort of strong bleach they’d cleaned the toilet with prior to my admission).

    The previous year (2011) I had surgery and requested a private room due to flower & chemical sensitivity, and on arrival, discovered previous patients departure had been delayed, so they only had a shared room available. The nurse took me in to the room and to my horror, not only was there flowers in the room, but they were the very worst, white lilies, in the arrangement. I was also assaulted by the patients perfume(?). I quickly backed out and said that if they couldn’t find me a perfume free room, the surgery would have to be re-scheduled. For the first night, they put me in a large 6bed room with a lady having no flowers or perfume, but fortunately the 2nd night, a private room was available and they were able to transfer me for the rest of my stay.

    I guess I just don’t put myself in enclosed spaces if I can avoid it. I don’t socialise (or maybe 2-3 times a year).

    Last November, I attended my neice’s wedding with absolutely no reaction at all (to perfumes etc), but I did leave at around 8.30pm to take my elderly Father home to my place to stay for the night. The wedding reception continued until midnight. I was on the edge of the crowd near the door and didn’t stay long enough to circulate and get highly exposed.

    I think a lot of older people have trouble with strong chemicals and perfumes these days.


  2. Kathryn Chastain Treat
    Jun 11, 2013 @ 20:08:39

    I can manage a short trip into a store with my mask where I couldn’t years ago. I visit with friends outdoors or they suit up to come into my home. It is just a matter of changing my mindset and focusing on what is possible and less on what is not possible.


  3. marina kanavaki
    Jun 12, 2013 @ 11:08:49

    As you say, my dear Fergie: there is still HOPE and there are still options!!!


  4. MCS Gal
    Jun 12, 2013 @ 12:48:13

    I think sometimes we compensate so well for our sensitivities that others forget we are sensitive.

    I schedule when I go places – grocery store early in the morning, a department store when it first opens and I use the outside entrance (I avoid the inside of a shopping mall), etc.. I also know what I am going to get – I rarely browse.

    My husband and I like to go to the summer movies that are shown in the fancy theater in town. We get there early and get the front row balcony seats – no one in front of me wearing perfume. If necessary, I can go outside – I come in just before the show starts and by that time the perfume wearers have stopped walking around.


  5. Robyn Lee
    Jun 12, 2013 @ 20:44:29

    Fergie- I too am so sensitive to chemicals and scents… I’m ok with some and very not ok with others… your strategies are really helpful… I also have to be wary of any place that might be musty/mildew — that really sends me into high gear. I live in a beach community too – so very hard. All this stuff triggers migraine and escalated pain – nervous system fire alarms. Also tends to get my anterior neck muscles into a frenzy… do you have that from the scents – muscular trigger?
    Hope you are holding your own dear one ~ sending Love ~ x RL


  6. Miche
    Jun 14, 2013 @ 11:08:26

    After recently moving to a beach house, I thought I’d have fresh air a lot. But as it’s turned out, if I want to go for a walk–which I do, twice a day–I have to drive my car just 3 minutes up the street so that I can avoid walking past houses that have chimneys. Once I get there the air is so fresh, it’s kind of spooky because it’s isolated bushland but I feel safer there than in the city or around chemicals. It took me a couple of times of getting sick to realise that I had to do that. I’m so close to the water–maybe a 2 minute walk–yet it’s so polluted. If it’s not the woodsmoke, it’s boat fuel coming in on the sea breeze, or traffic from my house. So, yes, I head to the woodland and I too, feel closer to nature. (I even saw a kangaroo the other day!)

    Take it easy,

    We’ll all get there

    You are right, it just takes a bit of thinking outside of our bubbles. I love your leaves analogy.


  7. Lisa
    Jul 23, 2013 @ 21:58:48

    Loved the haiku! Pretty much sums up my life the last 12 years. Still looking for boats, still finding only leaves. But I’ve gotten to be an amazing building for only having leaves, a few twigs, and the occasional bit of vine around to build with. 🙂


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