Mad Like Alyce

Flares, Fears & Frustrations

I have started and stopped this post multiple times, deleting everything and beginning again from scratch. The truth is, it’s incredibly difficult to talk about fear, and there simply is no way to discuss chronic pain and flare-ups without including the topic of fear.


This January marks five years since I made the decision to get completely off pain medication. My first year living pain medication-free was a roller coaster of blinding pain and attempts to manage it with an endless supply of Biofreeze and enough ibuprofen to kill a herd of livestock. I thought I had accepted that I would never be pain-free, and it was a shock to me the first time I made it through a day at work without taking ibuprofen or even thinking of my pain once (three years med-free). I wear my pain warrior badge proudly, and even though I have accepted the ups, downs, and limitations of my diagnosis, I was still in no way prepared for the fear that accompanies a flare-up.


Sometimes, it takes a flare-up for us to see just how well we have been managing. I’m not talking about the day-to-day pain but that deep, searing pain that takes your breath away as it rips you back in time to memories of when your pain was at its worst. Your pain manifests as a physical being, gripping you in a toxic embrace, and all you can do is silently scream in your head, “Not again, not again, not again,” until your brain is numb from the agony. Even after five years of flare-ups, they still suffocate me with their intensity. I don’t bring it up to be dramatic but instead to lessen its power by telling you this is normal. We went through hell – some of us are still in some shade of it – and the thought of going back there brings us to our knees.


While it is perhaps one of the hardest things to do, I focus on slowing down, which is the exact opposite of what my terrified rabbit brain wants to do. I’m currently in one of my worst flare-ups in five years, which happened to be brought on by a new injury sustained at the gym. For the first time in seven years, I called my sister and mom in tears from the pain.

What about the nail?

While my mind was spinning terrified circles about the “what ifs” and possibility that my pain could be coming back to its full fury, it was my sister who had the best advice. “Go to your doctor, you probably actually hurt yourself.” Did you ever see that spoof video where the girl goes on and on about problems, completely ignoring the nail in her forehead that causes all of said problems? I kind of felt like that for a minute. Having chronic pain means I am very good at ignoring my pain or at least distracting myself from it. Sometimes I forget that pain actually has a purpose, which is to tell you something is wrong in your body. Facepalm. An injury. Deal with the injury, then deal with the flare. I’m not going to say the anxiety was immediately resolved, but it was a plan and sometimes, having an actionable plan can bring that internal panicked bedlam down to a dull roar.

It’s OK to be afraid.

I did go to the doctor and am yet again back in physical therapy. I’m trying to do the opposite of what I normally do (ignoring the pain) and actually listen to my body and what it is telling me. When we do well managing our pain, it’s easy to forget how far we h]ave come. It’s OK to be afraid of the pain… just know that you are stronger.


Hi! I'm Alyce.
Welcome to my journey towards living a happier and healthier life while living with PTSD and chronic pain... and never letting it keep me from my passion for Halloween, cooking, and way too many DIY projects... all at the same time!

Costume & Makeup Tutorials


  • I should be in bed, but instead I'm fighting sleep and fooling around on Photoshop. This is a mirrored version to complete a full face. I have my makeup out and ready for a new look, but have nothing left in the tank today, so here's my last Gwen Dylan... for now ;)
Also, I forget how asymmetrical our faces can be until you flip a photo, or in this case, mirror it. Even just flipping it looked so strange to me!
  • I’m having waaaayyyy to much fun with this one, and it’s just the makeup! I think I might have to start this cosplay this weekend... what’s a good material to use to make a fake shovel blade? I’m a nube when it comes to fabrication, so any and all advice is welcome!
  • You GUYS this might have moved to my favorite makeup of all time. Gwen Dylan, inspired by the cover of iZombie: Dead to the World. I think I might have to make this a full scale cosplay, what do you think?

The zombie half was created using @mehronmakeup water paints. Wig is from @ardawigs (I think it is the Magnum Long Classic in Titanium Blonde). Eyes were photoshopped to match the comic book cover.
  • You may know of Liv Moore, but do you know who Gwen Dylan? You guys, i'm really really pleased with how this turned out! Modeled after the cover of iZombie: Dead to the World, Gwen Dylan is the original iZombie heroine, a revenant zombie that must eat brains once per month to retain her mind, which is easy, seeing as she is a gravedigger. 
The zombie half was created using @mehronmakeup  water paints. Wig is from @ardawigs (I think it is the Magnum Long Classic in Titanium Blonde). Eyes were photoshopped to match the cover.
  • Some like it hot! Unlike Liv Moore in iZombie, I would get some pretty bad heartburn, but that doesn't stop me from adding Sriracha. I think the most disturbing part of this picture is that even though I added white to the foundation to get that "ultra pale" look, you still can hardly see the difference between my face and hands... sigh. #palelife #zombie
  • When you get those late night munchies... Another look at this Full On Zombie Liv Moore from iZombie. The more I look at this, the more I love it... why do I procrastinate in posting things for so long?!? I've got a few blog posts in the works for projects that I started last year! I should hopefully have more things up in the near future. In the meantime, bon appetit.
  • Happy Valentines Day! I'll always love you for your BRAINS!!!
I did this iZombie Liv Moore in Full-On Zombie back before my surgery and just haven't gotten around to posting until now! I had wanted to come up with some kind of Valentines day themed look to kick me back into things now that my arm is mostly functional, but I was just struggling to think of what I wanted to do. Valentines Day is just not my thing. Unless there is chocolate. I Digress.
Halfway into my glass of wine, I realized this was the perfect time to post this look. I technically have a video, but the jury is still out on whether or not to post it just yet. I'm mostly just glad to be at a point where I can start experimenting with makeup again!
  • Anybody else struggle this time of year? I’m looking at these lovely sunbeams from my Alice In Wonderland shoot this summer to bring some sunshine to my day. I’ll be doing just fine, then be lying on the couch trying to feel like I can breathe again. I know it is ok, and these increased symptoms will pass, but it’s certainly not fun, especially when I have projects and ideas id like to tackle, but can’t get past this paralyzing anxiety. What do you guys use to help with SADD? #SADD #anxiety #ptsd #seasonaldepression  #winteristheworst #whydoilivehere
  • Halfway done! Still a ton to do, and I’ve learned ALOT already, like how not to sew in an invisible zipper, that I need a seam ripper, and need to invest in real fabric shears. But it’s actually coming together! Having never used a pattern before, I admit I looked at the pile of paper with some skepticism. Also, it kind of matches my couch. 😂 #cosplay #sewing #mccallspatterns #mccalls #mccallscosplay #spacesuit #plussizecosplay


Follow Me