Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Omega 3 and Diet Modifications

Now first of all, I am taking ACV and honey twice a day. It definitely reduced pain in my jaw. What it did to my knees is not so clear yet. It felt like I was getting better, but then I had this huge flareup, much stronger than before ACV. I read in Margaret Hills book preview that it is common to get aches in places you never got before in the first weeks of taking ACV. She says it’s a sign of it working. That definitely happened to me this time around. I now have “nagging” fingers, especially my right hand.

To call it pain would be an exaggeration; I never really had any serious pain due to my RA. I had discomfort and, the most annoying, swelling in my knees that comes and goes. When it comes, walking can be challenging. But I am still optimistic. Since Mrs Hills says it’s a common occurrence and a sign of things working, I will stay optimistic. My jaw was actually the only place where I sometimes felt some pain. I couldn’t move the bottom of my mouth left or right — the pain was too strong. Now I can, although not without some discomfort. That is definitely ACV!

I read about some studies that Glucosamine and Chondroitin can actually rebuild lost cartilage. What a great news! I checked there are real studies about it, so I went and got it. I also got Omega 3 because while I was researching Glucosamine and Chondroitin combo, I found another study that showed that Glucosamine combined with Omega 3 gave better results that Glucosamine alone in terms of pain. I don’t have pain, but I decided that I need it anyway. So another $50 per month if I am going to stick to it.

But the hardest part is the diet. I can see many people find that quitting wheat, caffeine, sugar, meat, eggs, and diary results in significant improvement or even complete recovery. This is so hard! But I will try. I don’t promise to be perfect. I hope that after a while I will be able to see a connection between no more than one food group and flareups. Quitting it all at the same time is too hard.

I tried it yesterday (except for 30 g of wholewheat bread and a piece of cheese). It was fine for one day, but no sweets and no coffee. No nice crunchy chicken or even eggs. I am not sure I can do this. I will keep researching how people do it and try to figure out the least painless way.

Also tomorrow I am going to meet my friends. I promised to bring a cake. I am eating it!

Controlling Arthritis With Natural Methods

So I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis for a long while now but, fortunately, I am still mobile, even athletic. It is getting worse though. The alternative medicine that helped me previously didn’t work this time around, after seven months of taking my herbal pills, I took a decision to quit and try something else. Here are my options:

  • Try another holistic doctor. I heard good things about some other doctors I haven’t tried; there is one who does Ayurveda and another one uses Unani medicine.
  • Go back to apple cider vinegar — I tried that before and it worked, but I quit that and went to my holistic doctor. At the time he gave me a medicine that really helped, but I quit taking it too early and my RA came back in a year.
  • Go to a regular doctor, the best I can afford. They will probably give me their scary medicine which may or may not help me, but I am open to this option though.

Since I am dragging to go to a regular doctor (scary and expensive) and am not psychologically ready to try another holistic doctor — seven months of pills that didn’t work effect, I am going apple cider vinegar route.

In fact, I started that about two or three weeks ago — I wish I documented that! It worked for me before, so I am curious how things will pan out this time around. This time my RA was active for longer, so it might take longer.

Beauty, Money, Status: Why Do We Love?

I was watching famous 2014 K Drama called “Cunning Single Lady” with Lee Min Jung as a female lead. The plot is as follows: A young beautiful lady desires stability and prosperity in her life. Her mother tells her that a woman has two chances in life to succeed — to become successful on her own or to marry someone successful. Thinking along this lines, she picks a young man who works a stable government job and appears smart. But only after three months after their marriage, the husband chooses to quit his stable government job and begin his own high tech business. Unable to find investors and without any income of his own, he fails to provide basic needs for his young wife, forcing her to work several jobs. For entire four years she races from one part time job to another, facing cold, hunger and humiliation to feed both herself and her husband until one day she decides that she had it enough. She changes the door lock and files for divorce.

The couple divorces and they go separate ways. She continues working hard to pay huge debts she accumulated during the years of her married life. He is devastated too, but the very same day they divorce, willing investors show up. He realizes his idea and becomes fabulously rich.

After three years his ex-wife finds out about what happened and plots for revenge — after all she is still paying the debts she got because of that man. She sneaks into his company as an intern and does all kinds of things to annoy him. Eventually, they realize they still like each other and fall in love all over again.

Now there are people who think she is only in it for money. She left him when he was in such a hard situation and wants him back when he is rich and successful. But there is another way to look at that too — it might be all a part of the package. After all, he married her for her beauty. And maybe personality too, but there could have been a lot of women with great personality — women with life experience, older women, women who have been hurt previously and learned their lessons in life. However, he chose the one who was extremely beautiful and the personality was fine too. It was all parts of her package just like his education, skills, and stable income were parts of his package. Does that make sense?

So when you look at things like that, the perspective of the woman is much more understandable. There are some people out there who have money and are sensitive to the issue. They fear that their partners pick them because of what they have and not because of who they are. But what they don’t realize is that it might be as well a part of their package, and even if it does have an influence during the mate choice process, it doesn’t mean that their partners don’t genuinely love them and care about them.

Same could be said about celebrities. If you look carefully, some celebrities are not the most attractive people in the world, yet treated as such. Park Hae Jin is one good example. Another recent example is Song Joong Ki who played the lead role in Descendants of the Sun, a drama that took Asia by storm.

There are many more examples for both men and women from East and West. It’s their fame, money and status that skyrockets their desirability. And, no matter how much some people try to deny that, it is possible to love someone without really knowing them based on their looks and status alone. Hence, it is possible to love a celebrity you never met in real life. Because when it comes to romantic love, a big percentage of cases is because we tend to project our own deep needs and desires onto another person without that person having to do anything. This is why when you eventually marry that person and a couple of years pass, you realize that they are not and have never been what you thought they were.

Even when someone “loves you for you”, there is no guarantee for happiness. While the personality is something not easy to lose, it still happens. You could become depressed. You could develop a mental disorder. You could get into a terrible accident and lie unconscious for the rest of your life. Do you think the feelings of your partner to the current version of you will be as intense as before when they loved you for your amazing personality? They may be there for you until the end out of sense of responsibility and loyalty, but do you really think they will be as passionate and in love as before? In the vast majority of the cases, they won’t be. And it’s fine. Because that’s the way the life is. And you have to accept that.

So don’t get worked up about people wanting something from you. Think of all the good things that you have as a part of your unique package and be thankful for having them. At the same time work on yourself, your personality, your qualities, the type of things that cannot be easily lost.

The Challenges of Living Abroad

In today’s connected world being an expat may not seem like a big deal anymore, and the truth is it actually is much easier than before. I can attest to that as someone who not only traveled a lot, but also married a foreigner and changed the country of permanent residence not just once but thrice in my short 36 years. Now OK, the first time was when I was only 13 years old but it was a big change nevertheless. The other two was because I married a foreigner who also lived in a foreign country (other than his own), so I had to join him there. Later on we decided to move to his country, so that was the third time.

You may be one of those people who criticize everything in your host country, but make no mistake, you will be absorbing foreign culture and habits without even realizing it. One day, if you go back home either for a visit or for good, you will surely notice that you are different from everybody else. In fact, you may feel more foreign than abroad now, and you will need to take your time to reintegrate into the society.

Another unpleasant surprise is that your old friends and even your relatives have learned to live without you. It will take a while to reinstall close relationships — something that may never work out. The separation may be hard at first, but as they say — out of sight, out of mind — eventually people get busy with their lives and move on. This is true for friendships just as it’s true for love.

If you decide to stay abroad for good, you will eventually start forgetting that you aren’t a part of this culture, but annoyingly, you will be reminded about your “foreignness” every now and then. This may depress you, but remember: It will be as bad as you allow it to be. Don’t think much of it, because ultimately people (foreigners) with whom you managed to build really close relationships — be that personal / love relationships or good friendships — will stop thinking of you as a foreigner. If you look really different, they will also get accustomed to looking at you and will not think of you as a stranger or even someone who belongs to another race. They will just see a human being they love. In addition, it takes only a couple of months of intense contact to stop feeling foreign accent. The accent may be still there, but they will only hear what you say and your voice, understand the meaning, but they will not feel the accent unless they intentionally concentrate on it for some reason (like to teach you proper pronunciation).

Finally, people are people. Think beyond country borders and develop communication skills, and everything will work out just fine. It will be only as difficult as you allow it to be, don’t allow yourself to get all depressed about it and embrace cultural diversity and experiences!

Getting Over the Pain of a Breakup

She was crying. She called me earlier that day and asked to meet me for a cup of coffee. I was far away from home, in a bookstore, but for my best friend I was willing to change my plans and rush home. I caught a taxi and reached home in less than 20 minutes. She was already there waiting for me.

My friend, let’s call her Nadia, wasn’t in a great psychological shape lately. Tired of constant problems at home, her abusive husband, lack of both money and love, and after so many years of being patient and trying her best to do things right, she began an affair. He was a bachelor seven years younger than her. He has never been married and was basically a tire-kicker. It is very likely that he — at least initially — was only looking for sex with a married woman — a guarantee that she won’t expect a ring.

As I prepared our coffee, she was sobbing in a corner of my sitting room. It was obvious that coffee is not why she called. Something has just happened, and I could tell it had to do with M., her new love. “I was out and about my business when I saw him with a company of friends”, she said as tears rolled down her face. “I am sure he saw me as well, and when he did, he was embarrassed of me. He actually hid behind a large container in hopes that I don’t see him”.

It must hurt when someone you love is embarrassed to admit to even knowing you. Their deed was embarrassing in itself for sure, but he was embarrassed to even greet her when around his friends. I could see why she was crying. But she had to understand one thing: the whole thing was terribly wrong and it had to end before it brought even more pain and damage.

Never having experienced a real love before, she was deeply attached to M. Now that reality has finally hit her, she knew he had to get over him but didn’t know how. Unfortunately, denial was the next stage. After an hour or so, she started to deny that the accident took place. She started to rationalize that maybe he hasn’t, in fact, even noticed her, and that entire “hiding behind a container” story was a coincidence. It didn’t work very well to calm her down, but it did work a little. They continued their affair for several more months until it was interrupted by other events.

Getting over someone you love is a hard thing to do, but sometimes it may be necessary. When you know your relationship with someone must be over, don’t give excuses, don’t deny the obvious and don’t wait for something to happen to pull you apart. When it must be over, it should be over. You should know better than that.

What to Do When Feeling Sad

It is normal to feel down at times even when there is no apparent reason. The trick is to know how to deal with these bouts of sadness so it doesn’t conquer you and doesn’t negatively affect your life long term.

The first step is to know that most often than not, it’s all in your mind; it will probably go away even if you do nothing about it. You just need some time.

The second step is to always remember that the chances are high that there are so many people who have it worse than you. In fact, you would probably hesitate to even mention your problems and doubts in front of them. You wouldn’t go on and on complaining about uncomfortable hot weather in front of someone who has just lost their leg. That would be weird, wouldn’t it? Remember that it is all relative and, most probably, your problems and discomforts are not as serious as you make them out to be. If you need some real world examples of people who have it worse than you, read the news. See how people live in some African countries. Read the stories of people with sick children or people who have terminal diseases. Read both happy end and sad end stories. You will quickly realize how fortunate you are.

The third step is to start doing something productive; if you can’t think of anything, just stand up and clean your house. Anything positive and productive will do. It will make you feel better.

The fourth step is to physically change whatever you are doing. You could go for a walk or exercise. Just change your physical position to something more active and powerful.

Your blues will probably go away much before you reach the fourth step, but it’s a good idea to follow through anyway.

Finally, the last step is to accept that you are likely to feel down again in the future, that it’s a normal part of life. The key is not to ban sadness altogether — there are too many things that can make you upset and that you don’t control — but to have a good strategy such as above to deal with it. Just by expecting that blues may visit you again, you diminish their negative effect.

Negative Friends Who Always Complain

I have a friend who always seems to complain. Mind you, she does have a lot of problems. And I do love her and appreciate that she wants to be my friend — always calling and texting, wanting to meet. It has been going on for years. She would call and complain. And that would go on literally for hours. Every. Single. Day.

Two years ago she complained about health issues and the state of medicine. She would tell me how terrible the doctors are and how they don’t know what they are doing; how she gets worse and how her medicines make things worse. I kept listening for a long time. Then I stopped taking her calls 50-60 percent of the time. It got better. But she would eventually manage to get me on the phone anyway. And complain. Out of desire to be nice and patient, I would listen all these same things all over again. And that would take one to two hours of my time. Not that I have something special to do, but it’s just not very good way to spend your time even if you have a lot of it.

Then her health condition improved somehow. But she didn’t stop complaining. Now she would complain about her neighbors and how their shower leaks into her apartment. That was going on for about other two years. They were able to fix that recently, and we are waiting to see how long it will last.

Now that that problem is fixed she complains about weather. About water and electricity. About people with bad manners. And so on and so on. Even when one of the issues is fixed, she will find another one to complain about. And it’s not that she has no reason to complain — she usually does — but it’s about her focus. She seems to need something to obsess and complain about. And she needs someone to listen, and I happen to be that person.

“My husband gets a heartache when I keep talking about all these problems”, she says. “I know you can take it; so I am telling this to you”. But my patience is also finishing. I love her and want to be her friend, and I am fine with listening to other people’s problems for a while. Or even a long while. But same thing for hours every day? It just gets boring. And it’s a poor use of my time. Even if you want to be a nice compassionate friend, listening to same nagging tape for hours daily (or even when reduced to four times a week by strategically avoiding phone calls and Skype messages), it’s really wasteful. She has to work on herself. And it’s not like I don’t have problems by the way. But if I mention them, she seems so disinterested. She even often switches the subject to her own tape. So it’s kind of one-sided. Explaining these things to her won’t work. So I need to kind of re-assess our friendship. I am honestly tired. She can even call at 11pm at night. Heck, I think there were Skype calls at 1am. Not good!

Interesting links:
Complainers vs Humblebrags

Don’t Be Alone

Many people feel alone. Even those who lived their entire lives in one place feel alone at times. Despite all childhood friends, relatives, and neighbors they still can and do feel alone. And then there are those who left their hometowns in search of better lives, more opportunities, or maybe in pursuit of love. It may or may not have worked out for them, but even if it did, they are still likely to suffer from one major downside — feeling lonely and foreign wherever they go.

And that feeling is not so easy to get rid of. In fact, it may be almost impossible for them to get rid of that feeling because even when they come back to their origins, when they come back to their native land, they feel out of place. They feel like strangers in their own home. It happens because our experiences change us, and we change and evolve with every trip we take or every new experience. After a while, we are different people.

So how to deal with this? I wouldn’t suggest to refuse from pursuing better opportunities or new experiences. But you have to be prepared to deal with the stranger’s syndrome. And you have to learn to bond with different people. And to be proactive when it comes to relationships. You have to learn to put your ego aside and call people first. You have to learn to be a great listener. You need to learn the art of hosting events and parties. All this adds up into great social skills.

But one thing is for sure: never fool yourself by thinking you can be alone just fine. No, it is not fun. It is not fun to travel alone. It is not fun to eat alone. It is incredibly difficult when you have no one to listen to you and hold your hand when you need it. Loneliness can kill you. We are social. We don’t do well in isolation. And you are not exception.

Useful links:
Scientific research on loneliness