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?