I had thought that I understood everything that is there about FM that I have to live with this for the rest of my life and that I am taking all the necessary steps, baby steps – AAA – Become Aware, then Accept it and finally Adapt to living with it. Little did I know how wrong I was!
I had (am still having) the mother-of-all-flareups, right around my b’day – med dosages were increased to reduce the pain, which meant, I was walking around in a fog, sleeping even less. Even my dreams, makes me tired these days, go figure 🙂 A seemingly small task, a task that was second nature, a task that everyone, including me used to take for granted (like cooking a simple dish/tying a saree/preparing school lunch for kids/even dressing up to go somewhere) makes me feel exhausted and over-exerted and like I can’t take it anymore.
Each step feels like a fight, even feeling positive feels difficult. I feel so overwhelmed, inadequate, not to mention SCARED cos the person I am now – this tired, exhausted, absent minded, disoriented and bursting-into-tears person, getting upset/angry/[insert knee-jerk reaction here] over even the smallest of things/words,actions person -is NOT me. Sometimes it feels like who I was/used to be is a figment of my imagination.
Then my doctor told me something – “We usually are more critical of the self than we are of the others, and we set standards that are so high for ourselves, it is almost impossible to reach them. So we end up pushing ourselves more than we need to. In addition, because of the chronic pain, the physical body is in a constant hypersensitive state. Add the emotional component, you are basically a jumbled mess.”
He also said that loss of any kind makes us feel bad. In my situation, “I am simply mourning for the loss of the person I used to be, the person I was and not what I could have been. And like any grieving process, I have to go through the motions, and that it is not necessary that I go through all of them one by one. I might be going through all of it at the same time i.e. denying that I am in pain and hence push myself to do more but not being able to which leads to anger. When pain hits full force, I am in fear and sometimes in grief ‘cos of the various restrictions. Unless and until I am MINDFUL (towards me) and exercise SELF-COMPASSION, I will be in denial and will only end up hurting myself more. In addition, cos of the various restrictions, I might have to unlearn and relearn (or pace myself) to do a lot of these tasks, tasks that are simple and that I used take for granted.”
Sounds a lot like common sense and simple to follow doesn’t it? How difficult is to be compassionate or even be mindful towards ourselves? Surely, it is not that tough to unlearn and relearn or even pace myself right. Well, it is exactly that difficult to do it. Why, you ask?
We have all heard and know that comparing ourselves with others will not do any good and makes things worse. In my case, like my doctor said, I am my worst critic and I am constantly comparing myself to——— yup ME. I am compare myself to my past self (not my younger self) but the person I was – the able-efficient-multitasking-on-top-of-everything person. You can imagine the predicament I am in now, cos I have to unlearn multitasking and then relearn to single task.
The good thing though is I know I am going through these various motions/emotions (of any kind – fear, anger, frustration, sorrow, but usually -ve) but in my own, weird way I am able to detach myself from it (sometimes in the first 5-10 minutes, sometimes in an hour or even longer but it always varies) and observe these motions (or emotions in action). However long it takes, when I snap out of these emotions I know I AM not the pain or these emotions. Rather they are part of me and not the other way around.
While the journey ahead seems daunting and tough, I am positive (all the while knowing that I am equally scared) that I am on the path to get and feel better – just one task…at a time.
Self-compassion is a practice. It’s a practice of returning again and again with a softened heart to one’s self, knowing that the ripple effect of that is more mighty than just about anything ~ drchana
Featured image from Studio Without Walls