Chronic Pain

People talk of spoons. You only have so many spoons a day. To some, this makes no sense. Why spoons? What about being poor with no credit cards. No cash. And your tire is busted. You don’t have $10.00 bucks and some lint in your pocket. There’s not a credit card to charge it on because you can’t get one.

The story of pain is about restrictions. Woven inside it’s barbs are reminders to go slower. Ease up on the anger. And always remember to rest.

Another way of understanding pain is to know there’s something always in your field of vision. It’s like a floppy hat you bat away but it keeps crashing on your face.

The teen who started the spoon story had Lupus, which is a limiting disorder. On the outside, everything looks normal. It’s the inside where things are not functioning as they should. It’s as if you have water in your car’s gas tank. There’s sputtering and stalling.

Most who suffer pain, try to hide it, even though it’s with them regularly. I know it’s influenced many decisions. How hard do I push in exercise? Not to overexertion. If I allowed myself to become dehydrated and too hot, it could trigger a migraine and muscle spasms. I’ve taken a lot of effort to prevent those, so moderation is better.

There’s a strange way of focusing when you have limited resources. It frees you to decide on priorities. It also lets you say no at times. Unfortunately, there have been times I desperately wanted to attend events, and I couldn’t. Understand it’s not an Ace card up my sleeve. I never play it like that for a reason most apparent. When I need it, I want it to be real.

I try to live optimistic, thinking of my dreams, but I have to keep my limits in view, to know how much I can accomplish each day.

How do you handle your pain or other limits?

The Not So Assertive Me

Thought Bubbles
Thought Bubbles (Photo credit: Michael Taggart Photography)

Sometimes we have to become comfortable with who we are when we are alone. I was driving in my car yesterday, thinking of of all the things I’m afraid of. How I’ve tried so much to be what’s expected of me and to hide the unacceptable parts. Be more respectful, less quiet, open up and share my private thoughts. Be outgoing, win friends and influence people, stand tall and assert myself.

In the normal moments, I’m happy puttering around my house or watching a marathon of Doctor Who. I tried dating because I don’t want to become a hermit quite yet. Maybe when I’m 70. Most of the guys I’ve dated like to do things. Shopping, traveling, gambling, all those physical and crowd oriented activities. And I can do those things just like anyone else, but it makes me tired.

I remember in elementary school fluffing and enlarging my persona. No one wants to be thought of as boring. And being fearful and boring at the same time is a huge ick factor for children. So over the years I learned to say the right words when asked, what are your hobbies? What do you like to do in your spare time? Fluff. It was easy because most people don’t really care. They move on and I can go back to my book.

But that moment, while driving, I was alone. Just me and my thoughts and I was okay with them. I’ve finally accepted that they are who I really am. In that moment I was being myself. No act, no bluster, no fluff. And I liked it.

 

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Your Drama is Spinning

Drama is fun. If you’ve ever been in the middle of a big, chaotic ball of drama you know what I mean. The person at the center of the drama gets tons of attention. The people surrounding her act as her courtiers, fanning, patting and all the little comforts necessary. We all have times that this is necessary, but there are those that create it. Maybe it’s not intentional, but they created it nonetheless.

Have you ever noticed the lull after the big holiday season? Or maybe after the sports season? It’s difficult to know what to do. No rush. No big fire to put out. It’s been said that the hardest times are during the holidays. That’s true if a loved one is no longer with you. For the rest of the population, the highest suicide rates are after the holidays. In January.

Why is that? Why is the let down after the chaos so difficult to cope with? You’ve just made it through all the rush and energy zapping events and now there’s a feeling of disappointment. We’ve used up all of our energy and there’s no outside event demanding our attention. We were probably running on pure adrenaline for days already then we stop. You would think you would be relieved, but no our mind is using its balancing methods to support the previous vigor.  It’s been called Dynamic Equilibrium. The body needs stability and our entire system tries to keep up the same weight, the same speed.

This is what It was like before I made boundaries. Here are some things that help me cope. These are some tools to let life flow more moderately.

Your voice. Saying no or speaking up is difficult, but it’s a necessary tool in many situations. There are things to consider before speaking. Would it serve me better to leave the situation, or to let someone know that something is wrong? Such as Thelma, your best friend, talks nonstop and rarely filters when she’s talking. Part of the reason you love her so much is her outgoing personality. There are days that her talking gives you a headache. So the two of you have planned to travel to the beach this weekend. You’ll be in the car for several hours. What should you do? Tell her to limit her talking or just don’t go? Tough call.

Your mobility.  Walk away. Distance yourself from the chaos. Sometimes you don’t have control of the environment around you. Once I was out with a guy friend. We were going to cook so I didn’t eat before I went. I was hungry and looking forward to some time together. He wanted to stop over and check on an older friend of his. The older man’s health wasn’t great. I was thinking 30 minutes and we’ll be out of there. No, not 30. 45 minutes were creeping into an hour. I felt bored, hungry and impatient. And feeling sick from not eating. But I sat there. Didn’t say anything. It was close to 2 hours before we left and I was angry. Afterwards, I knew how I should have handled it. I should have politely told him that I was going to run an errand, stopped and ate a taco or burger and came back later. I would have been happy and taken care of myself. Yes, it was rude of him to visit with these people for so long when we had earlier plans, but I can’t control other people. What I do have is the ability to get my keys and take care of myself.

Your environment. Surround yourself with your stuff. What makes you happy? Hot tea at noon? Snacks? Can you listen to music? Make your personal space like your home. Claim your space as much as you can. Pick out your major purchases for your own convenience. Dependability is very important to me. I like a car that can respond quickly. So I bought something with a certified warranty. It cost a bit more but for my peace of mind, it was worth it. I extended the loan period to cover the monthly fee which goes against all of the advice I’ve ever received, but the alternative was to get a car that I wouldn’t trust. Worry is my flaw. Being single in a large city, means I have a little backup. No spouse to call to take me to work or repair my vehicle on the weekend. So AAA is my back up. I’ve arranged my life to fit my needs.

Just the Taste

English: A woman eating an apple Français : Un...

Earlier I was eating an apple and enjoying it. I was just eating the apple, nothing else, and it was delicious. The crunch. The juice. It was a very good apple. So much of my eating has become duty. Just enjoying good food is difficult because we are all so uptight about eating healthy and not overeating. I’m right there in the mix of it also. Sitting down to eat a whole gallon of ice cream isn’t enjoying it though. That’s a compulsion.

Documenting my food intake is absolutely not my style. Of course like everything I do, I volley between a strict watch to eating whatever I want. Until I get in sync with my body though I feel I need to be aware of what I am doing. My main problem is when I start to watch, I also start to grade. I judge.

Will eat for food
(Photo credit: altemark)

Surely there’s a better way of staying healthy. A relaxed way. Somehow to respect ourselves and respect our food. With honor. I know that sounds goofy and all new age, but there is some truth in there. The current way is to tighten and clench. Try harder. Work out more. And that goes against everything I feel. It is what is wrong with society. Tougher rules and stricter laws. I’m not an anarchist by any means, but there is just only so much that another rule can do. What happens if you beat a dead horse? Your arm gets tired. Only that. He can’t go any faster. He’s dead.

Tighten Your Belt - Austerity

To me, when I get in those situations where I’ve buckled down and tightened up and can’t discipline myself any more, I know that I’m needing a new approach. Something isn’t right about the current one. If it’s not working, try something else.

So I want to try something else in regards to being healthy, but what? Counting calories? Exercise? Well here’s an original, accepting myself as I am. Hmmm, I’m not a big fan of that. Actually that one scares me the most. I read somewhere that the thing that scares you the most is the thing that needs to be done. I wonder if that is true? Somewhere in all of my efforts I need to know when enough is enough. But I’m not sure if it is yet. I have another hoorah! left in me.

Don’t Let Go of My Hand

Hold my hand and take me away
Hold my hand and take me away (Photo credit: (davide))

From the depths of my heart. Truly.

Oh I’m hoping you’ll understand and not let go of my hand.  – In For the Kill, La Roux.

I love music. I have no talent whatsoever, but I can listen as well as the next person. The lyrics catch me completely off guard sometimes.

We are a species who love stories. Movies, books, plays. It doesn’t matter what form it is. We can relate. And once the story has wrapped itself around us, it can jolt us. Even linger in our minds, when another person could have said the same thing to us and we would have walked away wondering what they were talking about.

Sometimes when I’m in a conversation, I have to remind myself to stay quiet and listen to the other person. I really don’t want to cut in or stop them talking. I just want to relate. This song is one that caught me off guard. The lyrics, the voice, and the story. Isn’t this what we all want?

We want someone to listen and understand. And not let go of us. Hear me, they cry. Please stay with me. There was a suicide recently at a local school. It’s hard for us to understand how a teenager can have a troubled life. Like illness and disease though, emotional pain does not know age or wealth as a dividing line. It does not respect you just because you are a good person or a pretty person. Suicide doesn’t only come because someone has a difficult circumstance. Suicide is an out for pain also. And when you are in pain all you can think of is stopping it. It’s the irritating ticking noise inside someones head that never ends. They see no solution.

I don’t know the child’s story or the family’s. All I know is that I am sorry. So sorry for their loss. And I hope that there is someone nearby who will understand and not let go of their hand.