I am on day two of a self-imposed “time-out.” Yesterday wasn’t very relaxing, I had: four door knocks, several phone calls, two deliveries and a last-minute dinner invitation. Now I needed the deliveries, the phone calls were related to a medication I’m trying to get pre-authorization for and I had a wonderful time at dinner. So, what’s my problem?!
I keep wondering if there can be such a thing as a total time-out from life’s busyness. Can we holler, “St-o-o-o-p!!” and have it stop? Just long enough for us to get our bearings? Long enough to get even the tiniest relief of the exhaustion that plagues us? Long enough to clear a spot in the brain fog that is so persistent? Are these things too much to hope for?
Some things have to be taken care of. I, for example, need my medications delivered and I must deal with the insurance company. Sometimes we can make our own choices. I could have turned down the dinner invitation, but I wanted to go and spend time with my two closest friends. Then there is the aggravating third classification of disruptions-the people who just don’t get how badly you need the rest. If they can’t seem to understand that you are genuinely ill they won’t respect your need to have some type of time-out from this incredibly fast-paced life we live.
Twice yesterday and once this morning I set limits with people who wanted me to drop everything and take care of something they wanted me to do for them. I was polite but firm. It felt good to stand up for me and for my badly needed time-out. I will probably have to set limits with others during the next two weeks which I will gladly do if it gives me the quiet I need.
Two days ago, I had something happen that was terribly emotionally upsetting. I got the typical headache from crying, but was so relieved I could cry that I was willing to deal with the headache. Whenever I’m taking an antidepressant I am unable to cry. Right now I’m not only on Cymbalta, but also aripiprazole which enhances the Cymbalta. I couldn’t even cry when my mother passed away last September. Anyway, I went right upstairs to see a friend so I could talk about the situation, crying the entire time we talked. Afterwards I felt a bit better for having cried and “unloaded” on my friend, yet I was still very upset.
The next day I woke up feeling as if my body was in a trash compactor. Everything from my head to my toes was stiff and painful. I knew the excessive pain and stiffness was due to the stress of dealing with a serious emotional issue. Before Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and a brain injury, I was a person who got tension headaches and neck pain when I was upset. Now I feel like my entire body has been crushed.
There is such a link between our pain and our emotions. Over the past eight years or so I’ve learned to be a calm and easy-going person and I have found that to be such an asset in controlling my symptoms. Yet we all have to deal with emotional issues in this life. During those times of emotional duress we can do nothing to stop our symptoms from getting out of control. In this case, crying really hard and sharing with an empathetic friend didn’t help.
I believe we can learn to control our day to day emotions by learning to only get excited when an issue really warrants it. We can also learn to accept our illnesses/symptoms and thus have a calmer outlook on our lives. Yet, unfortunately when we are in a situation where we are hurt, sad and/or angry we can look forward to a maddening flare of symptoms. Doesn’t seem fair, does it?
Have you discovered adult coloring books? Now hang with me a bit; I’m not being silly. They are one of the best discoveries I’m made in a long while. A friend introduced me to the concept of adult coloring books. I was puzzled and a but dubious about the idea. I mean even many kids have surpassed the “color in the lines” bit. Then another friend and I went to JoAnn and there they were with the magazines. You know-that place along the aisle you wait in line for check-out. The line was long that day so I looked through them and I ended up buying two.
These coloring books are amazing! It is so relaxing to fill in the colors. You can use colored pencils, markers, even water color pencils. The books generally have themes. I have one that is all birds, one of paisleys, a book of fanciful cats and one that is entitled “Animal Kingdom.” Besides being very relaxing, coloring books allow you to play with color which I love to do. There are no rules on how to color when you are an adult! I also find I can color even on days when I’m having a lot of pain or fatigue (or both!)
If these books interest you at all you should give them a try. I’ve seen them in the craft section at Walmart for $5.99 all the way up to $19.99 for sets at JoAnn and Michaels that include a large book and a small one you can carry around with you. And yes, I’ve seen men buying them.
It usually doesn’t take much to make me happy, excited even. Yesterday, I was outright thrilled by a short entry in the formulary I received from my new health insurance company.
As I was thumbing through it, looking to see if my meds were all covered, I found the heading “Fibromyalgia Agents.”There were only three medications listed: Duloxetine(Cymbalta), Lyrica and Savella, but I got so excited.
Just a few short years ago there were no meds that specifically helped Fibromyalgia; I only found out that Lyrica helped my fibromyalgia symptoms because a neurologist put me on it to help slow down my brain after I had a traumatic brain injury. I also take Cymbalta-for me it helps with depression and back pain.
I have no experience with Savella, but I know it was specifically formulated to treat fibromyalgia. As you all know there are many other meds we take to help the chronic pain and fatigue, but for now the three listed are a vast improvement.
The second reason I was so happy to see that heading is because it means that my new insurance company counts fibromyalgia as a real illness. For too many years people with fibro have had to put up with not being taken seriously by the medical community.
We still need to help educate more health care providers and for certain there needs to be more time and dollars spent on fibromyalgia research, but there’s been some positive movement on our behalves and that makes me very happy.