Friday, June 15, 2018

Fibromyalgia, Part 2: Potassium likes me. A lot.

I'm just winging it here, sister, but potassium seems to be helping with my Fibromyalgia-related symptoms. Most notably, my digestive issues and sleep and muscle aches. I stumbled across something about potassium being necessary for stored fat metabolism, then looked for a list of foods high in potassium and realized...ACK! I haven't been eating any of those. It seems I was consuming fewer than 1,000 mg of potassium each day.

Next I learned that potassium and sodium levels are supposed to be balanced with magnesium and calcium and other electrolytes. And I began to wonder if low potassium was causing electrolyte imbalance--sweating, dizziness, nausea--during my bike rides. Or maybe I was merely inducing illness in myself because of the cacophonous color scheme of my cycling jerseys?

Admit it. I look like Spiderwoman.
By now you have forgotten to give a flying fig about me, my bike rides and my nausea. Instead, you are wondering, well, 1,000 mg of potassium a day, is that, like, low? Is it very low? Give us some context here. Stop talking about yourself, girl, and tell me, How many milligrams of potassium does one need each day?
I'm so glad you asked. I just wish someone on this planet had the answer. If you do an internet search, you will find answers ranging from 3,800 mg per day to 4,500 to 4,700 to 5,100. I guess the amount of potassium you need depends on your age, gender, physical condition and which country you live in and/or are brainwashed by.

But all of those numbers are higher than the <1,000 mg a day I was taking. This may not be an issue for you.  Potassium rich foods include bananas, potatoes and fries.  If you eat those regularly, your potassium level is probably fine.  If you don't eat those, and you want to raise your potassium levels, I have a few caveats for you.

In the United States it is illegal to sell supplements that contain more than 100 mg of potassium due to the fact that some people with kidney and/or heart conditions tend to take too much--probably because of some stupid advice they read on a blog post like this one--and it makes them very ill or dead. Maybe both.  So right now, while you are still alive and/or conscious, would be a good moment for me to reiterate:  rather than take any capsules, just try to eat more eggs, chicken, spinach and melon.  And get your electrolyte levels checked by your doctor. Because potassium citrate supplements (which I take) could land you in the Emergency Room.  Just because I'm doing them doesn't mean you should. If I jumped off a cliff, would you do it, too? Depends on how long our bungee cords are, am I right? Just kidding.  We don't have the energy for bungee jumping.

No, seriously. Your medical conditions may not be the same as mine. You'll want to do your own research and talk to your own doctors before changing your routine because both magnesium and potassium can really do a number on IBS-D as well as other conditions that tend to show up in people with Fibromyalgia. If you do end up taking potassium supplements, there are many types. Check the Mayo Clinic web site. They list a staggering number of them. Also, why does this blog program keep changing my freaking font and spacing? But I digress.

I could have been in 
Tour de France if I'd had 
enough potassium.

I bring up potassium for another reason. Potassium deficiency can cause weakness, fatigue, muscle cramps and constipation. Those symptoms are pretty common in those with Fibromyalgia. What if--just humor me, here--what if some people who have been diagnosed with Fibro actually have potassium deficiency instead? What if eating bananas, baked potatoes and spinach omelets--which all contain potassium--makes all or some of the Fibro symptoms disappear? What if donuts and cheesecake contain potassium? What if eating large amounts of decadent pastries cures us of potassium deficiency and then Random House contacts me and demands that I sign a half million dollar contract for the rights to publish one of my novels and then everyone dashes into my Etsy shop and buys five tastefully handmade scarves in shades of green and/or teal blue and Santa Claus brings me a BMW for Christmas and world hunger gets solved tomorrow and Democrats and Republicans all start to work together for a brighter and better America? We just don't know. But I will keep eating spinach salads and hope for the best.

dj runnels

Visit my Etsy shop, pretty pleeeeeeeease.

Follow me on Instagram to give me the illusion that you care.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

If your Etsy shop has low views and low sales

Beaded detail on
one of the handbags
 in my Etsy shop
I just received my 1,111th feedback review on Etsy and I am honored that so many people felt compelled to say something nice about what I shipped them. They didn't have to. I appreciate that they did. I posted this in the Etsy forums along with the following insights.

Sometimes people come into the Etsy forums and ask, "How can I get customers to leave a review?" My answer to this is, "By providing a good product, shipped on time, with a friendly note of thanks." That's it. I know many of you are tempted to ask customers to leave you a review, but that's awkward, not necessary and could even backfire on you. Just do a good job, ship fast and be friendly. My customers know that I am a cheerful sort. (Okay, maybe more wacky than cheerful, but whatever...) And your customers will pick up the vibe you convey, too

I know many of you are discouraged by sagging views and decreasing sales. And you come to the forums seeking advice. Most of the advice you get will be to improve your SEO and photos or to add more merchandise. The sellers who generously take the time to study your shop and offer this advice are often giving you very good advice. Please listen to them. Don't tell them why you can't do it. They are often telling you what you need to know, even if you don't agree. But please also remember that with 53 million listings on Etsy, you may need to make more ruthless changes than simply modifying the SEO. I will never say the following to your face when you come to the forums begging for help, but getting good sales goes beyond tags and photos. (Deep breath.)

Many jewelry makers are creating a style of jewelry that is allllllll over the site; consider branching out into making lanyards and eyeglass holders and pieces less ubiquitous so that you can be found in more categories. Make jewelry for women, men, children. Branch out. If you want to make hand-stamped metalwork bracelets, make yours different from what is already out there. 

If you are addicted to crocheting scarves, try to make yours a little different from the many solid-color acrylic ones so you can compete with the HALF MILLION scarves that are listed in the fall/winter. I know it's comforting to make what you like, the way you like it, in the cheapest yarn you can find, using a solid color. But you do not stand out when you do this.

Be nice. Don't copy my work!

If you're going to make calligraphy farmhouse signs, try to come up with fresh quotes that other sellers are not using. Choose quotes that have a searchable word in them and aim for specific rather than vague. Target demographic groups: nurses, Capricorns, step-families, soccer moms, fishing enthusiasts. Make sure your sign is legible because many of them are not. (You think that they are. But they're not. I see them all day long and I can't read half of them.) Consider using a different font so that you will stand out.

If you make greeting cards and your sales are screeching to a halt, it might be because some demographics are buying fewer greeting cards than they used to, in part because they believe in sustainability and it feels wrong to them to buy cards when they can simply send an email instead and, in so doing, save a tree. Stop! I see that you want to argue with me. You are wasting your breath. I didn't single handedly change our culture. It is a trend and you must find a way to adapt and face reality. Try making greeting cards that are targeted to a much narrower niche. "Happy Birthday to my favorite teacher." People search on the word teacher. And rock climber. And football. And doctor. And Nevada. Incorporate searchable key words into your work and watch the rock climbers and doctors and people of Nevada flock to you. You may be thinking, "Those take forever to sell." But nobody wants a generic birthday card. Or if they do, you have too much competition already and you will not be found in search. Alternatively, consider making some other sort of paper products.

What was popular in 2010 may not be in demand any more. It isn't a condemnation of your skills. It's a matter of supply and demand.

It was a sad but realistic day when I realized that few people want my clever hand-felted coasters. There's nothing wrong with the ones I make. There are just too many coasters on Etsy and the supply exceeds the demand. Coasters appeal to an older audience, eager to protect their valuable wood furniture, whereas Etsy shoppers are skewed towards the under 50. Please don't write to me and say, "Oh, yeah? Well, I'm over 50 and I shop on Etsy!" That may be, but the majority of Etsy shoppers apparently are less concerned about leaving latte rings on their Ikea coffee tables. I have other stories like this. Numerous stories. I tried something; it underperformed; I moved on. I don't just blindly continue making something that isn't selling well. I try to figure out why something isn't selling. But if I can't figure it out, that doesn't mean I stubbornly keep on making it.

This happens to all of us. Here is a cowl neckwarmer that can also be worn as a hood or dread wrap. What's wrong with that? I don't know. It sells, but slowly. Do I go into the Etsy forums and wail, "What am I doing wrongggggg? Why isn't this selling? Is it my tags?" No. I tried adding accents to them, such as felted leaves. I made them in a variety of colors for men and women. I used a male model for some of the listings. I changed photos. Finally, I faced reality and I quit making them. Do you like it? Go look in my shop. You can get one at a reduced price. You're welcome.

This blog site is screwed up and I cannot salvage the end of the post.  I've spent hours trying to fix it and just can't.  Sorry. Here is are some white bullet points on a black background for your amusement, encased in a giant dark space.

dj runnels

Visit my Etsy shop.

Follow me on Instagram.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Instagram: just another thing you are doing wrong

I am no guru when it comes to Instagram, but I have been there since summer of 2017 as @lifesanexpedition and have 1,000+ followers. And I've gotten sales in my Etsy shop as a result of posting there.  So I would like to bombard you with my opinion, just in case you are struggling there and want some input about how to proceed.

First: decide what you want out of your Instagram account.  If you want to connect with existing friends, family and co-workers only, I recommend using your actual name or nickname or partial name so that people can find you, then set your account to private under settings. 
If you are a female between the ages of 10 and dead, with a lovely smiling profile photo, setting your account to private will keep the fake male scammers from seeing your posts. They will still contact you, but you can click DECLINE at the bottom of the screen and that will stop them from contacting you again.  There will be many, many of these scammer guys, I'm sorry to say, so I'd like to discuss that a little.

How to tell if an Instagram account is a scammer? They tend to use two first names or a very common first/last name. Once in a while, I see two last names. Sometimes they will ludicrously misspell their own name, e.g.: Larryy.  Sometimes their user ID will not match the name in their profile; one might say Scott Owen and the other will say Wilson Davis. (I mean, c'mon, you don't know your own name?) Usually their user ID has a number at the end, such as wilsondavis12345. And please understand that there may very well be a legitimate, real Scott Owen or a Wilson Davis on Instagram. I'm not talking about real people. I'm talking about fake accounts using made-up names for nefarious purposes. Scroll down through all their posts to their very first post, and often you'll see that it was posted yesterday. Take a look at what they are posting. They may show lots of teddy bears and flowers, trying to impress you with how romantic they are. Look at the captions under each post; if there aren't any captions at all, RED FLAG.  The perpetrators of these accounts are not good with English and they slip up on details.  They are going to try to bilk you out of money or a credit card number or something.  Don't open their messages. Block them, if you like, but I have found that they tend to keep showing up under new fake names. 

If you want to make new friends or find romantic interests, still avoid the scammers described above.  Therein lies only heartache, my friend.  As for finding dates, well, I'm married and have never used Instagram for this purpose. But you can find people who live in your area by following hashtags such as #NewYork or #NorthernCalifornia.  Or try to find people in your profession by following hashtags such as #artist #accountant #medicalworker. Or people with interests in sports, such as #cyclingwomen #cyclingmen #tennisfanatic.  Or other interests.  Just remember that some women are reluctant to put down their location because they don't want any stalker issues, so you may have to get to know them first.  Which brings me to an excellent point about Instagram...

Get to know people.  If you learn nothing else from this article, please just trust me on this one point.  Follower apps that promise you lots of new followers are a waste of time.  Clicking on FOLLOW over and over and over again on all the people Instagram suggests to you is a waste of time.  Going down the list of people following someone who is already following you and hitting FOLLOW a hundred times is... wait for it... a waste of time.  You can't build meaningful relationships like this.  And even if you forage for followers and click on 5,000 names and about 500 follow you back, what have you got?  It's 500 random people you didn't choose.  You don't know if you will connect with any of them.  So forget all those massive following strategies.  Just look at profiles and posts, using hashtags to hone in on things that interest you, and when you find someone you like, start commenting on their posts. Commenting is at least ten times more effective than repeatedly clicking the little heart button.

And don't use those following/follower apps on your phone.  I have heard that some of them steal your password and hack your account.  Even if they don't hack your account, they are unlikely to provide high quality interactions. IMO.

Remember my headline about Instagram being just another thing you are doing wrong.  Well, this is one of the biggest things people do wrong. They treat people as statistics instead of people. You don't need 5,000 followers who mean nothing to you. They will know you don't care about them and they will unfollow you.

If you are hoping to find customers, clients, blog followers, YouTube followers, that sort of thing, you have two options.  (1) Engage with a regular account or (2) Set up a business account.  The latter will give you diagnostic tools and statistics, but I don't have a business account, so I can't tell you much about it. But in either case, I will say that if your number one objective is to drive people to your blog, then you should have a link to your blog in your profile and mention that link in every post.  Use colorful photos that are generally not covered over with text.  Why avoid text?  Because this is freaking Instagram.  We're all there for the pretty pictures.  Give us pretty! You cannot create links in these posts.  And your ability to bombard your hapless followers with your "witty" opinions about Donald Trump is limited.  So show us a beautiful or clever photo and then speak your mind in the caption, urging them to see more in your latest blog post or YouTube channel or visit your website, following the link in the profile.  If at all possible--and I'm just going to tell you point blank that you should find a way to make it possible--avoid spamming the daylights out of your followers.  They follow you because they want entertaining or inspiring or dazzling content.  So dazzle them already! Less than 1/3 of your page should be selfies, unless you're a model trying to get work.  If you don't have anything great to post today, wait until tomorrow or the next day. 

And no matter who you are, if you want to keep your followers, you must do two things. And do not skip these two things.  One is: answer their comments on your posts.  And two is: go to their pages and make comments on their posts.  We all like to think we are rock stars and that people flock to our page for our content, but unless you are a celebrity with over 10K followers, you had better engage with them on your page as well as theirs, at least in the beginning.  If eventually having a lot of followers is important to you, this is a must in the beginning. If you are content to have 100 very loyal hand-selected followers, not so much.

Here's what I do. And I'm not saying my way is best. In fact, I break a number of rules that almost certainly hurt my following.  But I am doing what I like. I use a regular account (not business) through which I attempt to meet several objectives:

I want to meet creative talents who inspire me. 

I want some people to visit my Etsy shop and buy my stuff. 

I want to interact with cyclists and weight lifters, because their success makes me want to try harder to improve my own health.

I want to see beautiful photos of some of my favorite cities in the world, like Rome.

I may at some point start promoting a novel I've written by showing excerpts from it.

I want to have fun.

So when you look at @LifesAnExpedition on Instagram, you will not see an outstanding example of how to make money.  You will see a hodgepodge of topics with my silly captions. And you will see an account that I find rewarding and meets all of the objectives I just named.  I post up to 10 times a week for a few weeks in winter because I sell yarn and knitwear in my Etsy shop, but instead of showing one photo after another with a caption that screams, "20% off this week only," I am more inclined to show my works in progress, often with cheerful diatribes about my personal life. In warm weather, I post maybe 4 times a week and include my bike rides, painting projects, excursions, vacations. I keep the number of selfies under control, but I will show a photo of me out doing something.

Someone in the Etsy forum lamented that they only have 100 followers and they don't know how to get more.  So I posted a very condensed version of what I wrote here.  They responded with a defensive comment about why they can't or don't want to do these things.  So, yeah, you don't have to take my advice.  Maybe some of the things I wrote do not appeal to you.  But be aware that if you stay on your own page, engage with your followers at a minimal level, post mostly selfies, favor posts of photos loaded up with lots of text so that you're not giving us those aforementioned pretty pics we want, post nothing but product shots, fill every caption with exclamation points and proclamations that you're having a sale in your Etsy shop, etc., you might not have the Instagram experience you were hoping for.  Start with your objectives; do what helps you reach those objectives.

Important note:  there is another type of approach to Instagram.  Some people--including 
Buckets of tears. 
stellar photographers, musicians, fashion designers, fitness experts--have extremely high aspirations to become what is called an influencer.  They want and need to have many thousands of followers in other to monetize their account.  For example, a fitness expert may want to collaborate with a manufacturer of fitness apparel.  They pose at the gym wearing tight trendy work-out clothing and the manufacturer pays them $50 to $400 or more per post. The more followers they have, the more money they can make per post.  That's why you will find these people following you just to entice you into following them; and as soon as you do, they will dump your sorry ass on the unclean basement floor of Instagram, weeping in your own filth, wondering, "But why would they unfollow me?!" If you desire to become an influencer, you can find plenty of advice online.  But as you claw your way to the top, just remember that your relentless and heartless follow/unfollow behavior is hurting the feelings of many Instagrammers. You probably don't want to alienate everyone and leave a heap of dead bodies in your wake.  It's bad for your reputation. Try to show at least a little respect.  I remember loving the fitness account of a guy I followed for over a month.  I liked, I commented, I watched his videos.  I knew he was an influencer because he would show a brand every few posts.  But I didn't care.  He was amazing in his ability to spring up onto a four-foot high box at the gym in a post-apocalyptic industrial shot that looked professional and beautiful.  One day he made a post wishing us all a Happy Easter. I was one of the few people who responded to him in the comments on that post.  By sheer coincidence, I notice that he unfollowed me less than a minute later. Ruthless.

Good luck, Instafam! And play nice. 

dj runnels
Owner of Life's an Expedition on Etsy.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Wait, what? Multistrand yarn? What is that?

French Morocco by Life's an Expedition.
Exclusively on Etsy in the lifesanexpedition store.

Life's an Expedition multistrand yarn is composed of multiple strands that have not been plied. If your jaw is on the floor right now, pick it back up while I wait...Okay? Ready? It's not hard to use. I knit with it in a dimly lit room while watching TV using double-pointed needles and trust me, I am not the greatest knitter who ever lived. Granted, if you just learned to knit last week, you won't be able to use it without practice, but if you are an advanced beginner, you should be able to get the hang of it pretty quickly.  I've been winding it and selling it online since 2003 and only know of two people who simply threw up their hands and gave up.

Proof that it can be done. Ta da!
Beginners: I recommend getting comfortable with a single strand first.  If you feel you know what you're doing with one strand, you can eventually handle two.  Then three.  Then more.  Begin with large needles and work your way down to medium needles.  I don't think I have ever used my brand of multistrand yarn on size 4 needles or smaller, but that's not a big concern, since I seldom make any multistrand yarn in a gauge smaller than DK.

Your biggest challenge will be to knit each stitch in its entirety, without dropping a couple of strands. But if you get most of the strands into the stitch and drop the rest--I know, I know, the very thought creeps you out and I feel uncomfortable writing this--but even if it happens, your project will NOT unravel and with all those colors going on, your mistakes will be less noticeable.

In some ways, it's actually easier than single strand knitting, in which every stitch counts and every mistake shows and every dropped stitch means chaos and frogging.  And I'm the sort of person who hates to rip out rows and redo it. (Admit it.  You hate it, too.)

Visit Life's an Expedition on Etsy.
A second problem
you may encounter when you're using multiple strands is that one

One of my customers made this with Medieval Violets.
strand will sometimes be stretched out or seem "longer" than the others as you work your project.  Chenille yarn is notorious for this.  If you reach the end of a row--that is, you're on a seam--and your piece has a right side and a wrong side, go ahead and tie up the slack on the pesky strand that is too long. Then when you sew up the seams, you can incorporate the slack into the seam. 

What if you don't have a seam?  What if you're making something like a blanket, without a right side or wrong side?  You can loop the "longer" strand around the needle a second time as often as needed to make it catch up with the strands. I have created yarns in which I never had to do this at all throughout the entire project. But sooner or later, most multi-strand knitters face the problem of uneven strands. 

Zenith Star. Only in my Etsy shop: LifesAnExpedition

Or sometimes I see it happen when some of the strands are much thinner and/or a different fiber than the others. It has not put me off of multi-strand knitting, but someone who is using multiple strands for the first time might freak. Just remember, most knitters DO get the hang of it and if you are clever about fudging the yarn a bit here and there, you will relax. 

Knitters and crocheters who are really into elaborate stitches sometimes resist the notion of multiple strands, because they have so much going on just following the pattern.  I can understand that.  Multistrand knitting is easier when you are doing a straight garter or stockinette with minimal increases, decreases or shaping. But I've done seed stitch and ribbing with multiple strands and loved the results.  And I've had customers go on an entrelac binge with Life's an Expedition yarn. And I wove countless scarves with it, despite the special challenges that a weaving loom presents.  I'm not good at crocheting with it, but frankly, I'm not good at traditional crochet.

Lastly, someone who is super-picky about their craft might never enjoy it.  Also, anyone who is devoted to knitting socks or anything on very small needles might not have the patience for multi strands.  Good luck to you.  I re-post this same article every year or two so that people can find it more easily.  If I haven't convinced you yet that you will likely get the hang of multistrand yarn and actually like it, I will point out that I have a number of customers who have purchased over $1,000 worth of it from me over the years.

dj runnels

Follow me on Instagram: lifesanexpedition

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Fibromyalgia, Part 1: I'm fighting it, dammit.

I hold back from mentioning that I have Fibromyalgia because a lot of people jump in with, "Oh, yeah, I am tired, too."  And this comment will generally come from someone who does not have debilitating chronic fatigue--one of the hallmarks of Fibromyalgia--and the only reason they're tired is because they stayed up binge-watching Game of Thrones until 3am.  These people probably don't mean to be insensitive by glossing over my massive fatigue issues, but they still irritate me. I struggle not to stab them.

So I don't mention Fibro very often.  Also, I don't want to be viewed as someone with medical issues. I prefer to be treated as a feisty person who fights back when there's an illness.

Fibro is like the Walking Dead.  But with lying down instead of walking.
Some people sit and listen quietly in the doctor's office and take whatever prescription is handed to them, no questions asked. I'm not that way. I do exhaustive internet searches, go to the doctor with a list of blood tests I think I might need and try every supplement or food group that I suspect might make me healthier. One year, I drank carrot juice virtually every day. For a year.  I do not go down without a fight or... at least, I fight when I have the energy. Energy is a key concept here.  It's hard to fight when you don't have any energy.  Coffee can only do so much.  Sometimes coffee doesn't do anything.  And sometimes, coffee actually makes it worse.

This is it in a nutshell:  two of the biggest components of Fibromyalgia are fatigue and pain.  That's on a good day.  On a bad day, it's bone-crushing fatigue and flu-like body aches. 

 There will be a sunrise tomorrow! But you will sleep thru it.
But there are many other symptoms of Fibromyalgia, plus over-lapping or "comorbid" conditions that go along with it.  These include: Multiple Sclerosis, Celiac Disease, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Discoid Lupus, Hypothyroidism, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Sjogren's Syndrome, Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Interstitial Cystitis, Adrenal Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Gulf War Syndrome, Restless Leg Syndrome, ADD, ADHD, PCOS,  "Fibro Fog" and problems with cognition, (I'm getting tired of capitalizing letters, so...) weird allergies that come out of nowhere, migraines, gluten sensitivity, rheumatoid arthritis, hypoglycemia, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, multiple chemical sensitivities, osteoarthritis, insomnia, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, paresthesias, psoriasis, swelling, inflammation, urinary problems, a lot of digestive issues, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, extreme sensitivity to touch or temperature or light or noise or barometric pressure... Read more about co-morbid conditions on Wikipedia

I won't get specific, but I either had or still have roughly 28 of those conditions.  Oh, I'm sorry, you don't seem to be reacting.  28! [Painful emoji.]  So with that many issues going on, my research and trial treatments are an ongoing juggling act. Because lying in bad 24/7 doesn't fix this thing.  Sometimes it's necessary, but sometimes I get up anyway and try one of my many little secret half-cures. And I have found ways to feel better, at least regarding the Fibro symptoms. So I want to share those in a series of short blog posts, because I'm too tired to write long blog posts. 

Corn sensitivities are NOT fun, just in case you wondered.
Corn sensitivities are one of my key issues. If I eat corn, corn muffins, popcorn, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup or any of the seemingly billions of food products made from corn, I feel worse.  It might be because of GMO corn problems or because corn is high glycemic.  I don't know what the reason is.  But corn is an issue.  So I lug around a list of corn products to avoid when I shop for food or eat out. 

Such a hassle.

No, no, wait. That sounds negative.  So let's find another way to word this: Good news! I found out corn triggers my Fibro symptoms! That means all I have to do is avoid corn products and I will feel better at least some of the time, even if I change nothing else! You see what I did there? That's called being positive and proactive instead of giving up.  It's not easy to stay positive, but I have no intentions of writing a horrible, whiny, downer of an article that makes both me and you feel hopeless about Fibro.  I do not feel hopeless every day, all day long. And it is my wish for the world that no one with Fibro will feel hopeless 100% of the time. I can't make you put a positive spin on this. I'm just saying that there are ways to fight back. I'm doing it. Maybe you can, too. I don't know how bad your symptoms are, of course, and I don't know how many co-morbid conditions you have, but maybe I have some insights that will help you.  

Did I mention Fibro migraines? Oy!
Now let's talk about magnesium.  Apparently, many people with Fibromyalgia have magnesium deficiencies and don't know it, so taking a larger dose may help you. It helps me enormously. It decreases my pain and my insomnia especially. I can't say enough good things about magnesium citrate. (Other forms I tried were less effective.) But please keep in mind that your conditions may not match my conditions and you'll want to do your own research and talk to your own doctors before changing your routine. Magnesium can mess up your guts if you also have have IBS-D. 

Also you might not have corn sensitivities, so just because I am depriving myself of the sweet buttery goodness of big, brimmin' bowlfuls of grits doesn't mean you have to.  Please, don't just blindly follow what some humorous, witty, beautiful and talented stranger like me does.  (Stop! You're too kind.) Be proactive and find out what works for your set of conditions. Fight back when you have an ounce of energy and maybe you can make this experience a little less miserable. For now, if you want to slink back under the bed covers, I will understand. Talk to ya later.

dj runnels 
Despite having chronic illness issues, I somehow magically manage to run a large and successful shop called Life's an Expedition on Etsy.  Go figure. Also, you can follow me on Instagram where I am told I am hilarious.

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