When you’re living with chronic pain and illness most days are hard. And some days are really hard. Today I’m having a really hard day. I’m feeling off kilter, having a lot of trouble concentrating and I’m in a fair amount of pain. As a result, I’m pretty exhausted and a bit anxious.
Every time I have a really hard day I still find myself feeling surprised and disappointed. Surprised that I’m still experiencing downs, or flare-ups, five years after being diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. Disappointed because this means I’m still not “normal” again. Logically I know that there are always going to be ups an downs, that’s part of the territory, but there must be some small part of my brain that hopes each “up” is a permanent up.
The good news is that I’m getting better at dealing with the downs. The best thing I can do is accept that I’m in flare, not fight it, and do what will help me the most. As soon as I recognize what’s happening, I shut down the machine – cancel plans, appointments and commitments for the next few days (at least). I get a friend to take my dog out and I hunker down on the couch with blankets and pillows and tea. I limit my work as much as possible. Today’s blog post was going to take some brain power, so I postponed it and decided to write about the hard days instead.
What I’ve learned after five years of ME, is that while the ups don’t last, neither do the downs. This brings me a lot of comfort when I’m in my couch cocoon. I feel relieved knowing I can turtle until this flare up passes, and at peace knowing that it will.
I'll catch you on the flipside!