Good morrow, my plentiful crabapples.
I took Memorial Day off from writing in order to enjoy a morning hour at the lake with K and our four dogs. We left the house by 9:30 for the same reason I’ve been trying to take all morning classes for years: I know my best time of day is right after I get out of bed, and then it tends to go down from there. I do my best to schedule my life, inasmuch as I can, around the time of day that my levels of pain and fatigue are at their lowest. Everybody with chronic unwellness should try to optimize their best times-of-day in order to have the best experiences. I’ve always been a morning person, and my body agrees with that. Yours may not.
If you can identify a general time period in which you feel better than others, work with it. I was able to stay at the lake longer, feel less fatigued, and play with the dogs more than I would have if we hadn’t planned and gotten out the door at a relatively early hour. And we had a great time.
What I really want to talk about today involves a list, which in and of itself makes me really excited. What the hell is up with me and lists? Who knows. I love them. I love making them. I love crossing things off and making new lists. I think I get it from my dad.
Lists are also really helpful for achieving positive changes, and today I’m going to talk about making a list of things you can do to enhance your quality of life and relieve pain right now.
There are many things that can be done to mitigate the long-term intensity and consequences of chronic pain, like:
- Eat a nutrient-dense real-food diet. A poorly functioning body needs all the help it can.
- Try not to develop kinesiophobia, even though it is a natural and understandable response to chronic pain and EDS, by maintaining a strict and appropriate exercise routine.
- Take natural anti-inflammatory supplements daily and making informed decisions with our doctors.
- Manage stress actively through pursuing happiness and meditation.
All of those topics are going to eventually get posts in their own right. However, they don’t come in handy when the dragon has woken and pain hot, aching, burning, sharp, throbbing snakes through you. What then?
Look to your list.
Now is when you start pulling out your Pain Management Toolbox and putting it to use.
In this exercise, you make a list of all of the things you can do to feel some relief from pain and the various stressful effects of pain. Then put that list somewhere you see it often.
My list includes a more self-centered, proactive version of the Serenity Prayer that I absolutely love. I originally found it here. Like the long-term pain management strategies mentioned above, many of the topics on my list will get their own posts. I also have a list of things I still haven’t tried for pain management that are yet to make it on the above list. We’ll get there.
Why make this list? Make it to remind yourself of your options. Make it so you’re more likely to utilize multiple pain management strategies so you can win with math.
But… but, but but… but there are those times and those pains that don’t allow for list-looking. I know this. I know this very, very well. Most pains and levels of pain are helped by lists like this. Some, though…. some scare me too much to try to describe. That kind of searing, burning, oh-my-god-bodies-can’t-take-this-please-please-please-please-no-no-no-no-no. Thoughts aren’t coherent, and everything you are curls around the white-hot, trying to contain it and escape it. What the fuck then?
That kind of pain calls for strong language, too. Fuck is a kiss, a sweet angel’s caress, next to that kind of pain.
At that point, my sweet eyelash, I can only count and breathe. Count anything. Count breaths, count teeth. If you can open your eyes, count books, tiles, anything. Think about anything, any part of the body that does not hurt. Think about the ear lobe, the elbow, where ever the pain is not. Keep breathing.
And of course, it depends why that dark pain is there. Migraine? Nerve pain? Something that should be medicated? Prevented?
That kind of pain is destructive to the body and mind. Don’t tolerate it. Don’t tough it out. Do what you need to in order to survive it. For the rest of it – make a list.
And then refer to that list. Keep updating it.
Pro-Tip to all those with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: We have the exceedingly rare experience of being both chronic and acute pain patients. We need to have effective coping skills and management strategies for each that are both long- and short-term. We can do this.
What are you pain survival strategies and pain management tips? How do you seek relief? How do you find relief? Is seeking relief ever a form of also finding it? Steak for thought, dear galleons.
In truth and beauty,
P.S. Tell me what you think of the new website! Expect more updates soon