Today has been a little like our June weather for me emotionally. A little grey, windy and rainy this morning, followed by glorious sunshine in the afternoon. How our emotions can change when we have an illness that affects our daily lives so.
Firstly I did not have a good nights sleep last night. I had pain in my hips. legs and feet which made getting comfy hard work. Then just as I was dropping off someone mistakenly posted some cheques through our door, clattering the letter box really loudly and waking the whole house up. I wouldn't mind but it was almost 11pm and we were all shattered. After that sleep just wasn't going to happen. I had had a doze and now I was wide awake. I took my pillows and duvet downstairs and settled on the sofa to watch T.V I am well used to this...the sofa is like a second bed to me. t must have been about 3am before I felt I could get back up to bed and sleep but I was wide awake again by 5 and the pain had not lessoned for the rest.
My eldest boy came with me to take the little ones to school and walk the dog. needless to say I didn't get to walk very far at all but I was out. I spent some time under my favourite tree while Ben ran up and down the lane with the dog trying to wear her out. Then we visited my in laws for half an hour and by this time I was so uncomfortable. My head was pounding, my breathing shallow because of the pain and as a result I felt light headed and foggy. My heart started beating in double time and I felt generally shocking. I thought maybe some of it may have been because I had started a detox 3 days prior and I had cut out dairy, gluten and processed foods. I do this quite a lot to clear my system and it doesn't usually make me feel so ill. I don't drink caffeine more than once a week anyway and always keep dairy and processed food to a minimum so there isn't usually a noticeable clearance as such I just feel much better for doing it afterwards. I guess my headaches to be attributed to two things. The Rape seed is out in force in the fields around our village and I have had some stress on of late with family things. My anxiety had been bad for a couple of weeks, hence why I had decided to do the detox in the first place.
I drove home and decided maybe some wholemeal toast and a nice cup of decaf tea would be a good idea...maybe my blood sugars were low or something. It did help but I was only home for 15 minutes before I was due to go for my Pain Clinic appointment. I parked up and made my way across the car park because all of the disabled bays were taken up. I was using two sticks and felt so lousy I just wanted to lie down. Ben came with me for support and I must say I really appreciated that. As soon as I got in that little room and saw Linda it all came out. Tears, my frustrations, self pity - the lot. It was like someone had opened a flood gate and let all my emotions and feelings flow out at top speed. Linda was great and sat patiently listening to me whinge and moan about not having a life and how sorry I was that my boys had to see me like this or that they had to do chores at home, how I couldn't work at the moment, how I felt my life was one big waste of space but how lucky I was to have an amazing family and a beautiful home and I should have been content with that. I told her I can cope with the pain but it's feeling sooooo darn ill all the time that gets me down. Don't get me wrong pain when it is constant is wearing on the best of us but it isn't a patch on feeling dizzy, exhausted, weak, sick, anxious, useless, exhausted, dizzy, sick...did I mention exhausted, dizzy and sick?
Linda very nicely reminded me I WAS HUMAN. That this time last year I couldn't leave the house at all or even get out of bed for days at a time and so even though I felt rough and emotional in actual fact I was progressing. It may be slowly but it is progress. She gave me some exercises to help my dizziness and vertigo (They are different) and told me I had to retrain my brain. She showed me a video explaining that sometimes the brain learns to be in pain physically to hide emotional pain or if the body has gone through trauma or long period of high intensity pain it learns to protect itself from further pain but actually creating pain. Now I know anxiety does this. The brain creates anxiety when ever it see's a trigger or potential danger to prevent us from going forward and possibly hurting ourselves and so it would seem in fibromyalgia the brain and central nervous system have developed a strategy to create pain physically because it thinks it is saving us from other kinds of pain, for instance emotional pain. Now this part had me in floods of tears. I am aware I have had some traumatic times in my life that have probably contributed to my physical pain and although I feel I have dealt with most of them maybe it's just taking some time for my brain to cotton on?
Ben and I had a really good chat when we got home and we both let out a lot of feelings and emotions and it felt so good to share them with someone who understood. Although I have never wanted to talk things through with the boys because I have wanted to protect them and wanted them to be able to rely on me it actually did us both good. Hiding stuff from them doesn't mean it goes away or isn't happening. They know your hiding stuff and maybe they feel they have to hide it too which isn't good for anyone. We had a hug and I suddenly felt like a weight had been lifted. I knew how he felt about his diagnosis of psoriasis and how he felt about my illness and also his childhood. We could both clarify for the other how we really felt about situations of the past and present and we realised that each others prospective was different to our own and so more positive. Then we made a pact. A pact to be the best we could be and get these auto immune diseases into remission or at least reduce their effects. Bring on project smoothie. Now we et a lot of fruit, veg and salad in our house but smoothies are alien to us. I popped to Aldi and spent £15 on fruit and we literally threw it all in together. moral of the story, peel your fruit first! A smoothie is not very smooth at all if it has bits of grape skin floating about in it. Also not all fruits blend together as nicely as you think. There is an art form to it. What it did do tho was give us both a great laugh. We had turned the day from a 'struggle' day to a managing day.
I think a lot of how we cope day to day is we pretend stuff isn't happening. Lets face it when some one says "Hello how are you?" they don't really want to know, it's just a question. So our response is usually "Yes I'm great thanx are you?" etc. This is social etiquette and we wouldn't want to tell everyone we meet that actually today I am struggling and need a hug or a kind word. If we do we are usually met with annoying comments like "Oh you are doing too much" Gosh if only people knew how blinking annoying that saying is to someone with a chronic illness. What we need to learn to do is talk our feelings through with some one close to us, a councillor, doctor or the like and see it from another prospective. Sometimes even just writing it down and reading it back later helps us see that the bad times don't last for ever, even if we feel they do at the time and infact we are doing so much better than we think we are.
The smoothie test is going to be an ongoing thing. I don't believe in cutting out whole food groups from our diet, after all that isn't what makes it 'Balanced' but being sensible and sticking to a healthy low fat, low sugar diet does help both relieve symptoms of many illnesses and therefore promoting healing and it helps us cognitively too. We function better so we think better and our minds are clearer enabling us to think more positively. There is a saying that there is always someone worse off and it is so true. But sometimes you have to see your own pain as it is, relative to your own situation. To deal with that pain effectively in whatever way we can and release the emotion attached to it is the only way to move forward. As a friend once said to me everything is choice. You may not be able to change the situation but you can change how you react to it and therefore change the outcome. hence changing struggling to managing.
Hi my Name is Philippa Woodsford and I am a Holistic therapist, Reiki Master Teacher and Hypnotherapist. I suffer with anxiety and depression due to a condition called fibromyalgia which I believe is linked with an auto immune disease I was diagnosed with at just 17. My blog is written for me as a sort of journal but also in the hope it may bring hope and healing to others suffering with similar issues on a daily basis. Enjoy