Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Coping with the Ups and Downs

My pain condition has a circadian rhythm of its own design.

I used to think pain spikes correlated with increased stress or shifts in the weather or travel.  And that if I could only control for these variables, I could control the pain.  Over the fifteen years I have been living with pain and studying its habits, I now conclude that its vicissitudes are of its own making; or are so multifactorial that any search for a root cause is like trying to find a snow flake in a blizzard.

Pain spikes and declines are just as likely to be connected to the chocolate bar I inhaled three months ago or to a butterfly belching in China.  In other words, I don't really have a clue about why the pain rises and subsides or what gravitational pull it is responding to.

Right now, I am in a period of wellness, of absence of pain.  Hurray!

The tricky part is that I still have the habits my illness taught me.  These habits include:
  • Not making plans to socialize
  • Not buying advance tickets to a concert or play
  • Not exerting scarce energy on cooking or house cleaning
  • Not making travel plans
  • Accepting only shorter term work projects
  • Relying on my sweetie to run errands
  • Relying on my sweetie to comfort me
  • Relying on my sweetie to hold the hope of healing
  • Relying on my sweetie to be the bridge to the outside world
  • Relying on my sweetie...
  • Relying on my sweetie...
In short - counting on my sweetie to be my guardian and isolating myself from the world.

This is neither healthy (for either of us), nor sustainable.  I have been trying to kick the habit of excessive self protection and spousal dependency.  I have been positive self talking myself into more risky behaviors like:
  • Walking alone the endless aisles of the new Wegmans super-store that just opened in my neighborhood
  • Tangling with my health insurance provider to get them to pay their fair share of an out-of-network expense
  • Making a dinner reservation three weeks away
  • Saying, "I can," before I say, "I can't."
  • Doing whatever I can do to make my sweetie's day a little sweeter
Does your health condition (or your partner's) have its up and down swings?  How do you shift between down-time coping behaviors and up-time wellness behaviors?


Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

I frequently overdo when I am feeling good and throw myself into relapse. So I am trying to learn to modulate and moderate my activities. It's taking a long time-I've been at it since 1975 !~!

Anonymous said...

This shift is difficult! The list of behaviors that you mentioned hit home.