I want you to imagine your world without the constant nagging of your chronic illness. It's your world, but you're in control. You're driving the car and your condition has been relegated to the back seat.
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Hi I'm Kate
Come and join me on a journey from Chronic Illness to Chronic Wellness!
Warrior, it’s time to take back control.
You got this!
One of the biggest problems with any chronic ailment, for me at least, has to be set backs (or flairs, or relapses, whatever you want to call them, they’re still crap).
In times of (relative) good health I can often be heard regurgitating any one of the following statements:
“Yes, set backs do happen, but as long as you prepare yourself for them mentally then you know you just need to ride them out, it’s just part of the journey.”
“You have to look at the whole picture, yes set backs, relapses and flairs happen, but you just need to be ready for them and allow them time to pass. You just have to remind yourself that it won’t last forever.”
“The key to flairs is to be kind to yourself. You have to listen to your body, do the things you know help to improve the situation and allow yourself time.”
Well reader, today I say PAH!
Today I have had a a day of back to back meetings at work and by the time I got back to my desk for the last hour of the day I felt more like something resembling a gargoyle, pulling a horrible face! I was twisted, as stiff as stone and ached like crazy.
I decided my best option was to not give a shit about looking creepy in the office and proceed with some shoulder rolls, back and neck stretches at my desk. But it was too little too late (which also meant the creeping out of my colleagues was also unnecessary), those muscles had frozen to stone and nothing short of a stretching rack was persuading them otherwise!
I don’t know about you reader, and I know that everyone probably has situations that feel both similar and different from other peoples at times, but sometimes it feels like it’s when I just start to get on a roll… just start to get into a healthier pattern… string a few good days together… start to move some personal objectives forward… that, BAM! I’m down like a sack of spuds (or certainly like i’ve been hit by one!) and it’s always really fucking annoying!
And at that moment (or should I say this moment, as I am currently still in the midst of it) it’s so hard to dig into those messages of positivity from up the page, messages that I genuinely meant at the time I said them, because I’ve been caught off guard and frankly I just feel pissed off about it! (don’t you?).
Instead of the ‘be kind to my body’ (bullshit!) I’m more about the:
“What have I done to deserve this affliction?”
“FFS! Are you F’ing kidding me?!?!”
“Is it at all possible that I could catch a break at some point? Please?!”
So here I am. Sitting, typing, and simultaneously trying to uncoil my frozen spine one vertebra at a time. And actually I have to be honest, I’m already starting to feel a little different, and it’s mainly down to you dear reader (which sounds a bit creepy – she’s at it again – but let’s face it would be even creepier if no one ever actually reads this post!).
I feel as though I know that there has got to be at least one person out there in the whole wide web who knows where I’m coming from, and that already makes me feel a whole lot less lonely, and a little better.
However, also dear reader, I feel like a bit of an arsehole to be honest. Not because it’s not ok to feel those things because I think (hope) that’s pretty normal, but for 2 other reasons:
- There is no shortage of people out there who have it worse than I do. People who could only hope for relapses, flairs and set backs, because that would imply they had felt better even for one day in order to be able to relapse in the first place. There are millions of people out there who have it much worse than I do, and face it with aplomb! (There she goes with the old lady language again!).
- It is because of point 1 that I wanted to write my blog. Because I have the opportunity to try and manage my symptoms and ultimately hopefully reduce them a lot of the time. Other people don’t get that opportunity and so it’s criminal for me to drown in my own self pity. I need to use this frustration as fuel, to fuel my wellness strategy (and hopefully share something useful with others on the same ‘journey’ in the process.
I need to improve the positivity of this blog post and so i think I need a plan.
An ‘in case of emergency push glass’ type of plan. (Bear with… I’m making this up as I go along.)
I started this blog so that when I tried things out I could share with other people what worked and what didn’t and hopefully that might help even one other person to feel better. I also wanted to reach out to people who might understand how I feel, and might also be grateful to know that someone else understands how they feel.
So dear reader what shall we do? I want to come up with a survival strategy for set backs (relapses, flairs, AAFE – Annoying As F Events). Something easy to remember and easy to do. Something that will tackle both the calming of symptoms and the re-directing of the mind, back onto the wellness track. As soon as I have ideas I will post this ingenious plan, as I would love your feedback (ooo maybe I could do another worksheet – I love a worksheet!) and if you have any suggestions of things that have worked for you please let me know in the comments below.
Please however, dear reader, do be reassured. When you are in a negative head spin, you are always welcome here. Firstly as that means you are (a) normal and (b) like me, both qualities I admire in a reader. Secondly, I would never condone anyone for feeling mentally like shit because of their body feeling like shit, unfortunately it comes with the territory. It’s also your right to feel like that and part of the process.
What I want us to try and build is a strategy to move us through that phase quickly and efficiently, so that we can redirect some of that energy into flipping the bird to our symptoms, burning some rubber and leaving them standing alone in the dust, as we speed off into our metaphorical and healthy future (only a small ask I realise!).
OK now I am going to have a cup of tea and a hot bath (and possibly continue mithering for at least 15 more minutes before I get started), maybe that should be steps 1 – 3…