[special post] healing thoughts

this is my secret to staying positive 🙂
want to share this with anyone who wants to exercise their last bit of control in their crazy lives.

inflammation is the way our body regenerates.
in fact, inflammation is the actual healing process, sped up to cause a little discomfort even though it’s for a greater good.
i know it sucks to see/feel dry, cracking skin that sheds daily,
at the same time, it’s also amazing i get to witness the entire healing process with my own eyes.

plus, isn’t it more convenient that we can see the actual progress?
can you imagine if our symptoms were all hidden inside our colon,
and the only way to see its progress is to get colonoscopy on a regular basis?
last i heard, it’s a very unpleasant procedure.
thank god i don’t have to do it!

our body does amazing things that may not make sense to you,
but do not doubt it’s design.
it’s the result of billions of years of evolution, and it’s definitely smarter than we originally think.

if you disagree, think about this:
we’re all in this state because we think we’re smarter than our body by medicating it with poison.

we can’t control what happens to us, but you are in control of your mind and perception.


taking a break


after much consideration, i’ve decided to take a break from blogging for my own sanity.
when my skin gets bad, i find this constant need to try to find answers and explain things not just to myself,
but to everyone who might be reading my blog because i know how my ups and downs can instill hope and fear, respectively, to you all.

deep inside i feel like i owe everyone an explanation,
even though on a conscious level i know i don’t.
but subconsciously, i do.
maybe some day i’ll talk about how crazy i am.

i realize blogging has become a source of stress for me,
especially when things aren’t going great.

the process of seeking answer is stressful in itself.
and putting myself out there invites not just encouragement (which i truly appreciate), but also questioning and doubt from people who care.
i know everyone who questions probably didn’t mean harm, but it can’t change the fact that i’m currently too weak (mentally) to subject myself to that.

i believe in my own judgement, and that’s what matters.
as such, it’s best to stay away from the public eye until i’m capable again.

when i get better again, you’ll be the first to hear it from me on my blog 🙂
looking forward to sharing with you my journey once i’m done with it.
i know how it feels like reading a half written book, being stuck at the cliff hanger..
i’d rather give an account of what happened when the storm is over,
especially when this journey isn’t going to be as speedy as i wish.

i’ll see you when i see you.
i have no doubt i’ll be back again, because my body always heals.
it’s just a matter of time.
and i wish yours does too.

good luck, and stay strong everyone!


i know that when i look back at these years i’ve spent rebuilding my health,
it will all make sense because i’ve finally arrived at the conclusion, the one question i’ve been asking – what caused my skin to go bad again?

it will all make sense, eventually.
every thing i’ve experience is but a data point that paints the bigger picture i’m trying to see.
i need time, and more patience. Continue reading


for the first time in the past 3 months, i actually look like myself again.
this month was particular harsh since i was healing pretty well in month 49 and suddenly things went in the opposite direction. 😦
good news is, after the low comes the high.
skin seems to be back on track again, for now.

this is just life reminding me how change is always present,
and we shouldn’t hold on to the belief that our skin will heal in a linear fashion, because that’s just not true.
failure to align ourselves with nature will only bring about disappointment.

scroll down for some photos. Continue reading

[brain fart] making things work for me

i just finished another book, “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” by charles dugg.
the author analyzed how habits form, and how we can change them and form new habits.

the more technical parts like finding out what’s the cue and the reward isn’t what i want to talk about today though.
i’m more interested in changing the environment to make adopting a new habit easier.

i speak from experience, as i noticed i’ve managed to work around many obstacles in constructing good habits.
and it’s really quite serendipitous how i discovered them.
i had an “aha” moment when reading the book because i realize i’ve been doing some of the suggestions outlined in the book long before i know how habits work.

one of the hardest thing for me to do when my skin is bad is waking up.
after being dried out for 24 hours (from my last shower), and an 8 hour period without water,
i wonder if this is how rising from the graves feel like.
i have come to believe that our will power is a limited resource, if we don’t find other sources of motivation,
we’ll soon wear our will out and end up not doing anything.
getting myself out of bed used to be a problem, but over the past 5 years i’ve found routines that can help me get into motion.

the habit i want to talk about today is getting myself to leave bed even when i don’t feel like it.

last time, i used my breakfast to motivate me.
lately, it’s been the morning shower that i freshen up my skin with that keeps me from staying in bed all day.
even then, there’s still room for improvements – not just to get myself out of bed, but to minimize stress.

i’ve been through several versions of my morning routine even though they’re all me doing the same thing.

  1. wake up around 7+ when the sun rises, have my breakfast, shower, meditate (on a side note, i sleep with my curtains open so that the when the sky lights up, it’ll act as a natural alarm clock)
  2. wake up around 7+ when the sun rises, shower, meditate, have my breakfast
  3. wake up around 3/4am, shower, meditate, have my breakfast

that’s 3 variations of my morning routine.

some things don’t change, like meditating straight after shower because that’s the most convenient time for me.
i need to cool down after my shower anyway, instead of spending half an hour doing something aimlessly, i might as well use it to calm my mind and focus on my breathing.
in fact, this is exactly why i find it so easy for myself to keep meditating day after day – because i have a very convenient time slot for it to happen.

when adopting a new habit that might not give you immediate rewards, creating the environment that encourages the action is very important to help you stick to it.

it’s as though i built a set of rails over the uneven terrain, all that’s left for me to do after that is to turn on the train and it’ll make its way through the designated stations instead of having me drive a car on the road through the different roads, requiring my mind and effort at every turn.
it’s like auto-piloting!

what surprised me is how a small little change in my waking time can impact my mood so much.
i’m really just working with my body – i’ve been having trouble sleeping lately and i’d wake up around 2 or 3am, scratching and itching while being half awake.
even if i were to fall back asleep, i’d still wake every 2 hours and i feel extremely frustrated by the interrupted sleep.

one day i was watching some health videos, and as the chiropractor talked about how to get a good night’s sleep,
one should go to be before 10pm and then wake up at 4am so that over a month,
the body will be adjusted to sleep soundly throughout the night.
that was what gave me the idea of “why don’t i try waking up at 4am instead of trying to fall back asleep? i should wake up before i scratch myself to death!”, and that’s what i’ve been doing the past few days.

my sleep isn’t good yet, i’m clocking around 3-4 hours at night if i’m lucky.
the thing that bug me the most is falling asleep late. like way later than i would like to.
for optimal health, i really want to knock out before 11pm. there’s a bunch of TCM theories behind this time 🙂
some days i’ll have to supplement with day time naps, but i’m trying to cut it out so i can be tired enough to sleep earlier at night instead.

it’s only been 3 or 4 days since i tried waking up so early, but i’m really loving it!
very unexpectedly loving it 😀

one of the best thing about waking up at 4am is that the sky is still dark.
i can’t see my skin when i wake up – and it makes a hell of a difference when my skin isn’t that good yet.
seeing it dry and red stresses me out, and surely that’s not the first thing you’d want to feel in the morning!
not seeing it makes me feel better. a whole lot better.

also, the temperature tends to be cooler in the dead of the night,
i wake up feeling comfortable – not too hot or cold.

because i’ve only been in bed for 7 or 8 hours (as opposed to 10, because i go to bed early but i toss for several hours till 7am the next morning), my skin isn’t as dry at 4am, which means more comfort.

lastly, because i wake up after 1 sleep cycle at 4am (instead of an accumulated of 3-4 times if i were to try to sleep till 7am),
i don’t feel like my sleep is interrupted when i don’t expect myself to go back to sleep.
i don’t feel as frustrated!
and the thought of knowing i don’t have to force myself back to sleep takes away the pressure when i can’t fall asleep.

all in all, i actually look forward to waking at 4am now.
it gives me even more motivation than breakfast, but that’s partly because my diet is quite pathetically simple at the moment.
the lack of a savoury meal takes away a chunk of the original motivation.

luckily for me, i’ve found better ones.
and it happened so accidentally.

i guess if we can all keep an open mind and constantly try new stuff,
we’ll chance upon better options and routines for ourselves.
i seriously can’t remember the last time i felt so stress free in the morning,
and i think having lesser stress would contribute to a better well being and faster healing too.
so it’s really a win-win situation for me: i get out of bed happy, and a happy me means a faster recovery!

if you’re currently having a hard time living life the way you should,
see if you can shift things around to create a conducive environment for you to live easier with lesser effort,
because you need to save all your other will power to keep your mind positive.

it’s one of the tricks i learnt while dealing with TSW last time,
and it’s definitely proving to be a very valuable skill.

of course, some habits are easier to form than others.
i’m still trying to break the habit of scratching mindlessly when i’m stressed out, or bored.
when it comes to matters that require my own consciousness, it needs more effort,
and mindfulness.
so far, i find that whenever i catch myself scratching when i’m not itching, taking in a deep breath usually calms me down so much that i don’t need to continue scratching anymore.



[brain fart] how to not feel depressed


i think i’ve received this question before, but i haven’t gotten a chance to really address it properly in a blog entry.

how do i stay strong despite all the bad times i have to go through?

to answer the question simply,
i’d suggest you pen down the list of positive changes you’ve observed in yourself ever since you quit steroids.
it can be simple stuff like..

i appreciate my family so much more than before,
i no longer take things i have for granted,
i am thankful all the fucking time such that i can tear up any time any where,
i am more empathetic than i ever was,
i’m not that snobbish bitch anymore,
i lead a healthier lifestyle now that i know what to do.. etc.

once you complete the list, you might be able to resonate with what i’m about to write. Continue reading

[brain fart] being kind and happy

it’s more important than you might think.

i’m in one of those pensive moods lately, it’s sort of the side effect of feeling moody.
not every thought gets to be written down and shared with people,
so this thought came at the right time because if it hit me a week ago, i’d be “meh!” and let it slide into the depths of my mind.
thankfully, i’m feeling a bit more motivated to get things done this few days,
so here goes.

as i was surfing the internet on my laptop,
i randomly look down at my hands that are laid out on the keyboard.
i think it’s a subconscious habit to always take a look at my hands and scrutinize my skin (which explains why i always felt bad the past few months because my hands looked kinda bad),
and it only surfaced to my awareness just now because i noticed how beautiful my skin looked.
for once, i’m not upset after looking down! i didn’t know i can NOT feel upset until just now!
it’s not perfect yet, but they look so much better than before.
lesser wounds, lesser redness, skin isn’t as elephant-y.
it actually feels smooth and soft again (i did use a moisturizer, as i felt it’s the right time to use it now).

what i did next made me think i’m borderline crazy.

i looked at my left hand while caressing it with my right hand as though it’s a little puppy in need of love.

“you look so good! you’re doing so well! keep up the good work!”

then i looked at my right hand.

“you’ve done an amazing job healing! keep up the good work!”

as i touched it with my left, i looked at it lovingly before holding it near my lips and giving it a kiss.
i know, i know. it sounds dramatic as hell, but i really did that! haha!

and then i smiled to myself and thought “how wonderful and amazing is my body? you’re doing such a good job healing from the damage i’ve dealt, yet i have been undermining your efforts by thinking you’re not healing fast enough.”

i wrapped my palms around my cheeks (they’re currently going through another cycle), gave it a light pat of affirmation, closed my eyes, and took in a deep breath.

and i smiled again.

being kind to myself elicits a surge of good feeling, and it puts my mind in the right place that aids healing.
it takes away stress and channel more positivity into a difficult time like this.

surely, you’ve felt unappreciated before in your life,
that didn’t feel good, right?
if my body had feelings, it probably felt like shit because i neglected the fact that it’s working over time to recover.

just because i’m not seeing progress on the surface doesn’t mean it isn’t progressing!
“no observable changes” is not the same as “no changes”.
even though other parts of my body might look worse, focusing on what’s getting better worked really well for me.

you really have to experience yourself, it’s cathartic somewhat.
it might be easier to imagine your body and skin as something adorable.
in my case i really felt like i was speaking to a cute little puppy.

love yourself, and feel better.


p.s. photo of my hand over the month

click to enlarge to see the details, you can zoom all the way in!