The barometric pressure flirting with the Rocky Mountains this week caused me to hide in my cave and bemoan having a head, much less trying to use it. As usual though the best way to handle constant intense discomfort is to trick your mind into thinking that pain is just in the background and convince it there are better things to pay attention to.
I began the week watching Season 3 of Mr. Selfridge because I hurt too much to do much else. When I started to get bored with life as a great store owner in London during the 1920’s I began to look into other things to do. I read a book Marlena recommended called “Nobody’s Princess” about Helen of Troy as a youth. It was a cute YA novel and took a couple of hours to peruse.
Then I got creative. I made yarn pom pom kitties with a funky device I got after Christmas.
I started brushing up on my Spanish using Duolingo. I am now able to say, with confidence, that El mono come la manzana. Just in case you were curious.
Then I began working with my jewelry again. I had to take a bit of a break after getting so much done for the craft fair in December so my little jewelry bench sat quite forlorn and neglected for nearly a month. Not anymore! It is once again a disastrous example of the creative mind’s idea of organization. I have been making rings with wire and having a grand ol’ time doing it.
Today I awoke feeling a little bit better than I had been feeling. I am still up in a 4 out of 5 but there is relief that I am not a 5 out of 5. I hope the trend continues and I am able to get back down to a friendly 3. Until then, I am continuing my distraction treatment.
I spent a glorious day with friends and family and paid no attention to my spoons. It was magical, it was delightful, it was a great day. I’ve been paying for it ever since.
Much like the hangover day after a night of enthusiastic drinking the days following a spoon spending frenzy are hard. My head pounds with demanding intensity leaving me spent and miserable in bed. Light hurts, sound hurts, thoughts hurt. I am rendered useless by my agony.
The second day after feels like having the flu. I’m shaky, low energy, easily tired, and sore.
The third day I start to feel better again, more like the moderately pained me and less like someone who has crawled under a rock to die.
Today is the third day. Today I have had to remind myself to keep those spoons close and save them for the whole day.
I loved my day ‘off’. I took a friend to the airport, went ice skating with a bestie and our kids, cooked dinner and baked a cake, and played games with friends into the evening. I felt pretty good, the distractions pushing back the headache and keeping it outside my immediate attention. I felt nearly like a normal person again.
I wish I could have more normal days like those without the follow up low energy days. Someday perhaps I will.
It’s the first day of a new year and I am faced with determining what feet I plan to step forward with as the year progresses.
To begin with I am going to continue to work to grow comfortable in my new skin, to feel okay about wanting to stay in instead of going out, to accept my limitations and celebrate my successes even if they feel small.
I am going to keep working on being okay talking about what is going on with me. I want to shrug off the stigma of disability, illness, and mental illness and embrace the fact that my life, while filled with amazing people and wonderful moments, is hard. I want to work to remember that it is okay to talk about the hard and I want to resist the urge to sweep it under the conversational carpet and pretend everything is fine.
I want to get better and believing that the people in my life understand and love me anyway. I keep being surprised by how accommodating and supportive people are. The narrative in my head about my limitations is so negative at times I think I transfer those feelings of resentment or impatience to others around me. It’s not fair to them or to me as most of the people in my life, if not all of them, actually really get that I am traveling a road that differs from theirs. They are happy to cross my road when they can and let me cross theirs when I can but they aren’t dismissing me because I am on a different path. They aren’t rolling their eyes behind my back and talking about how I must be faking it, they aren’t shutting me out of their lives because I can’t participate socially as much as they do. They are just allowing me to set the pace and join in when I can.
I believe my social anxiety will reduce dramatically once I allow myself to fully recognize these truths. Once I am able to fully appreciate my victories and limitations, once I am better able to talk about them, and once I am seeing people’s support instead of fearing their dismissal I think I will have a healthier outlook on life.
So those are my resolutions for self-care this year. It’s a tough set of things to accomplish but it’s going to be better for me than resolving to lose 10 pounds, especially as I’m eating snickerdoodles while I write this post.
Managing life with chronic illness requires savvy spoons