Monday, March 10, 2014

Something’s Gotta Give

Rarely do I cancel anything.  But lately, I’ve become overcommitted.  This is, of course, and as many of you might expect, not unusual for me.  It is a skill that has worked for me in the past.  And when I was healthy, it was fine.  But now, it’s really not the best way to be.

Even though I’m chronically ill, I do think that there are times when I am coasting purely on adrenaline.  But instead of crashing and taking it easy for a day, as was required by my healthy self, my chronically ill self requires several days, sometimes even a week or two to regroup and totally recover. 

It’s a hard balance because so many amazing opportunities have come my way over the last several months.  And it’s hard to say no to things that I really want to be a part of.  But the reality is, for my physical and emotional well-being, I can’t do everything. 

Recently, I had a phone meeting scheduled for a new project I am hoping to become a part of.  But something had to give.  And at the moment, that was the easiest thing to put on the back burner.  I couldn’t get out of my school or current work commitments, so I looked at everything on my plate, and took off of it the must un-pressing thing.  Fortuitously, the person I was meeting with also happens to be chronically ill and completely understood where I was coming from, which was really great, and made postponing the meeting, even though in my heart I didn’t want to, much easier. 

And it made me realize that I have become more attuned to listening to my body.  My head was telling me that I needed to slow down and take it easy.  So I took two days.  I had only intended to take one, but one wasn’t enough.  So I took some time for myself, reading non-school related, junky reading, and rested, which put me in a much better place.    

When I used to not listen to my body, I ignored the signs, and didn’t stop until a flare was raging and I had absolutely no choice but to stop.  Clearly, that wasn’t ideal.  But now, I am better able to preempt a flare when it is caused solely by stress.  When I feel myself getting too stressed, or I get that feeling where I am always coming down with something but never get sick, I know it’s time to take a step (or two or three) back.

Recently, Chronic Illness Coach Rosalind Joffe wrote a blog post entitled, “the more i do, the better i feel.  sound familiar?

This is me in a nutshell.  Except the more I do, the better I feel is a hoax.  Like I said earlier, I might get an adrenaline rush from being active and doing a lot of things, but it’s a total rouse.  Because the minute I stop, my body shuts down.  It rebels against me, and then I am really at its mercy.   

It’s all about balance.  And when the balance starts to tip, well I really, really have to start to listening to my body and the signals it sends me. 

It’s good to listen before I send my body into a tailspin that leads to a flare. 

As we all know, stress exacerbates many chronic illnesses, and lupus and RA are no different.   

So how do you balance bouncing back and overdoing it?

1 comment:

  1. I don't. Not well, anyway. I keep learning the same lesson over and over again. In the last year, I've gotten a bit better at stopping before I crash completely, so that's progress of a sort. Right?