There’s a certain heaviness to chronic pain. It’s an ephemeral heaviness, a constriction of muscles a healthy person might get in a P90X class or carrying their neighbor’s couch into the house for them.
The neck muscles are tight, the shoulders are tense, the back aches, all from a mixture of “guarding” – the act of holding your body in a particular way to avoid or minimize pain – or a lack of activity from feeling to ill to do much.
Over time it becomes a literal weight. You wake up in the morning and in order to get up out of bed you have to consciously choose to pick that weight up and carry it again. You can feel the lovely release of sleep slip away and the various and sundry physical alerts begin to wake up in your body.
Hey there, your head really hurts today. Maybe the weather is kicking up.
Hi, jaw here, just wanted you to know that we’ve got some extra tension from that really great conversation you had last night so you’ll see some extra stabby moments from us today.
Um… yeah, it’s your back. You did something, or maybe you didn’t -hell I just work here- but whatever the reason you will be having some difficulty moving around today. I’m going on break.
You’ll get up and agree to carry these issues again because the other option is don’t get up. An option I hear some people choose but I personally believe all us spoonies choose to get up more than we choose to give up. So you move on with your day, dressing, maybe showering, eating, and then you will have other weights fall on you.
Joints here, did you know you can sprain your wrist picking up a box of cereal in the “wrong” way? No. Well now you do.
As you move through your day you will feel heavier and heavier until at last you are able to place the nearly overwhelming weight of your maladies into bed for a few hours of rest. If you can rest. If not, maybe a few hours of a good book or movie.
Sometimes the weight is harder to carry than others. Right now, for me, with the recent death of my wonderful and amazing support cat, I am really struggling to lift it all. I haven’t lifted a paint brush since she died. I feel all the pain more intensely without her here to help. My mind races with anxiety and possibility and doubt and fear. There is no furry face in my face forcing a distraction.
Without her support I find myself at sea, having to find new ways to carry the weight with me throughout each day.
In the meantime each little addition seems more personal, more targeted to make my day difficult instead of just something I have to move through.
My patience is frayed, I am restless and uncertain, and my body continues to pile it on, day after day, smothering me in the weight of a disease I cannot control.
So I shared some of it with you in the hopes the load lightens a little. Thank you for helping me carry it.