Having a positive outlook on life is a crucial part of finding inspiration

There are a lot of things that can provide inspiration – seeing other people accomplish great things, seeing other people overcome adversity, even the sheer beauty of nature can remind us just how lucky we are to be alive.

It’s easy to forget what an amazing gift life really is. Our lives are nothing but a cosmic blink. Even our seemingly all-encompassing world is just tiny blue dot circling an average sized star spiraling around a galaxy of 200-400 billion stars, which itself is just one galaxy among billions more. Yet for one brief moment, we get to experience the wonders of existence, of consciousness.

Having a positive outlook on life is a crucial part of finding inspiration. Our brains are wired to find things we’re looking for – if you’re always cynical or waiting for things to go wrong, then your life will reflect that. On the other hand, having a positive outlook on life will bring you joy and provide you with inspiration when you least expect it. Of course, there are times when it’s difficult to feel cheery or positive – life can be difficult. Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.

What inspires you?


Dear Spoonie’s this won’t cure your disease BUT ….

Dear Spoonie’s,

This weekend, try and leave the house – Yeah, I know this makes you cringe because we hear this all the time from people who are sure we will be cured if we just get some fresh air and vitamin D from the sun. But we all need a change of scenery and seeing the same dirty dishes and dingy walls can quickly send you into depression. Walk outside and sit on the patio. Go to the local coffee house and check your email. Go to a movie, even if it’s alone.

Will it cure you of your disease? No, but it will put you back into the world and make your bed look even more appealing at the end of the day.

Living with illness is like sitting on a pottery wheel as a soft lump of clay. It doesn’t matter how long we sit there or what shape we are, as long as the hands of illness keep touching our life, we will be reshaped into something new.  Enjoy your weekend, whatever you decide to do.  If you decide going out this weekend isn’t for you, why not join other Spoonie’s > https://www.facebook.com/SpoonieQuotes/

They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication

One of the things that baffles me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically having ‘Spoonie’ In my opinion, living with manic depression (plus few other things) takes a tremendous amount of balls. At times, having an invisible chronic illness can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this ‘Spoonie’ and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of. They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.

Statistics say that a range of mental disorders affects more than one in four in any given year. That means millions of us are totally screwed and feeling alone and lost and very confused to why them.
Having perused the various tests available that they use to determine whether you’re manic depressive or whatever, I’m surprised the number is that low.

Feelings don’t try to kill you, even the painful ones. Anxiety is a feeling grown too large. A feeling grown aggressive and dangerous. You’re responsible for its consequences, you’re responsible for treating it. But…you’re not responsible for causing it. You’re not morally at fault for it. No more than you would be for a tumor. (touch wood that never happens) It is naively assumed that the fact that the majority of people share certain ideas and feelings proves the validity of these ideas and feelings. Nothing could be further from the truth. Consensual validation as such has no bearing on reason or mental health.

Some seek the comfort of their therapist’s office, other head to the corner pub and dive into a pint, but I chose writing as my therapy – The pain of severe depression is quite unimaginable to those who have not suffered it, and it kills in many instances because its anguish can no longer be borne. The prevention of many suicides will continue to be hindered until there is a general awareness of the nature of this pain.

What people never understand is that depression isn’t about the outside it’s about the inside. Something inside me is wrong. Sure, there are things in my life that make me feel alone, but nothing makes me feel more isolated and terrified than my own voice inside my head – which started when an amazing man in my life was taken by Prostate Cancer – He was my Hero, my best friend and also my Dad!

If you’re feeling down (or worse) you can send a text to 07725909090 and a volunteer will text back for a chat. Some people don’t like talking on the phone and find it difficult to open up to their friends and family.

You can also join a ‘Spoonie’ group on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SpoonieQuotes/

20 Things to do every month to be happy!


#Fibromyalgia Awarness by Brown Earth

Fibromyalgia does not discriminate.

Susan Flannery, four-time Emmy Award-winning The Bold and the Beautiful actress says she takes her condition one day at a time.

Grammy-winning Irish singer song writer Sinead O’Connor retired from music in 2003 due to her condition but has since returned, striving to find enjoyment.

Michael James Hastings was forced into retirement due to his condition but he’s since become a spokesperson and is working on a PhD.

It is thought Florence Nightingale, a pioneer in health during the Victorian period, had the condition triggered by an infection.

September 2017 Lady Gaga had to cancelled her European tours, because of “severe physical pain that has impacted her ability to perform”

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia last year although I’ve probably had it for many years.

It is very common for the diagnosis to take a few (sometimes many) years as the symptoms can be vague and similar to other conditions. Fibromyalgia is a chronic (long term) condition characterised by widespread body pain and extreme fatigue. Each sufferer of fibromyalgia experiences the condition differently.

What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?

  • Pain – usually constant and widespread but may be worse in certain places such as the back and neck. The pain can be sharp, stabbing or dull in nature. Sometimes there are ‘trigger’ points from which pain radiates.
  • Fatigue – a feeling of over whelming tiredness, not relieved by sleep.
  • Sleep problems – some people will suffer from insomnia (problems falling asleep or broken sleep), other people will sleep for a good length of time but due to a lack of restorative sleep (deep, stage 4 sleep) will awake unrefreshed.
  • Hypersensitivity – including hyperalgesia (extreme sensitivity to pain), allodynia (experiencing pain from light touch) and sensitivity to smells, tastes and brights lights etc
  • Other symptoms include muscle stiffness and spasms, headaches, constipation, diarrhoea, feeling too hot or too cold, dizziness, clumsiness, paraesthesia (pins and needles or numbness), mental health symptoms and an inability to think clearly (also known as ‘fibro fog’).

More research is always being done into understanding the condition better so that it can be managed more effectively in the future or maybe even cured one day.

For more information see NHS Choices and Fibromyalgia Action UK.


New research shows how alcohol damages DNA and increases cancer risk

Scientists have shown how alcohol damages DNA in stem cells, helping to explain why drinking increases your risk of cancer, according to research part-funded by Cancer Research UK and published in Nature today.

“While some damage occurs by chance, our findings suggest that drinking alcohol can increase the risk of this damage.” – Professor Ketan Patel

Much previous research looking at the precise ways in which alcohol causes cancer has been done in cell cultures. But in this study, researchers have used mice to show how alcohol exposure leads to permanent genetic damage.

Scientists at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (link is external), Cambridge, gave diluted alcohol, chemically known as ethanol, to mice. They then used chromosome analysis and DNA sequencing to examine the genetic damage caused by acetaldehyde, a harmful chemical produced when the body processes alcohol.

They found that acetaldehyde can break and damage DNA within blood stem cells leading to rearranged chromosomes and permanently altering the DNA sequences within these cells. It is important to understand how the DNA blueprint within stem cells is damaged because when healthy stem cells become faulty, they can give rise to cancer.

These new findings therefore help us to understand how drinking alcohol increases the risk of developing 7 types of cancer including common types like breast and bowel.

Professor Ketan Patel, lead author of the study and scientist, part funded by Cancer Research UK, at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, said:

“Some cancers develop due to DNA damage in stem cells. While some damage occurs by chance, our findings suggest that drinking alcohol can increase the risk of this damage.”

The study also examined how the body tries to protect itself against damage caused by alcohol. The first line of defence is a family of enzymes called aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDH). These enzymes break down harmful acetaldehyde into acetate, which our cells can use as a source of energy. Worldwide, millions of people, particularly those from South East Asia, either lack these enzymes or carry faulty versions of them. So, when they drink, acetaldehyde builds up which causes a flushed complexion, and also leads to them feeling unwell.

In the study, when mice lacking the critical ALDH enzyme – ALDH2 – were given alcohol, it resulted in four times as much DNA damage in their cells compared to mice with the fully functioning ALDH2 enzyme.

The second line of defence used by cells is a variety of DNA repair systems which, most of the time, allow them to fix and reverse different types of DNA damage. But they don’t always work and some people carry mutations which mean their cells aren’t able to carry out these repairs effectively.

Professor Patel added:

“Our study highlights that not being able to process alcohol effectively can lead to an even higher risk of alcohol-related DNA damage and therefore certain cancers. But it’s important to remember that alcohol clearance and DNA repair systems are not perfect and alcohol can still cause cancer in different ways, even in people whose defence mechanisms are intact.”

This research was funded by Cancer Research UK, Wellcome and the Medical Research Council (MRC).

Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s expert on cancer prevention, said:

“This thought-provoking research highlights the damage alcohol can do to our cells, costing some people more than just a hangover.

“We know that alcohol contributes to over 12,000 cancer cases in the UK each year, so it’s a good idea to think about cutting down on the amount you drink.”


  • Alcohol isn’t thought to cause blood cancers, but these stem cells offer a valuable way for scientists to investigate what’s happening to the DNA inside.
  • Alcohol causes 7 types of cancer – mouth; upper throat; laryngeal; oesophageal; breast; liver and bowel.

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