My response to self-care articles

flat,1000x1000,075,f.u1As I have my laptop set to the lowest brightness and my lights in my house are off, blinds are drawn and I’ve called into work that I’m unable to make it today…. I’m home alone with just my animals keeping me company today. This all seems so familiar. A familiar kind of dread creeped up in me when the dizziness, pain and nausea started yesterday. Life changes, the constant up and down and down and up in weather… my body was bound to have enough. Days like today, everything just seems big and overwhelming (even things like what blanket should I use). On days like today I spend my day trying to make my world small again, to make it manageable, so I can focus on one item at a time.

I usually forget about the self-care part of things and only worry about what everyone around me needs. That’s part of what leads me to these break-downs I imagine. Caring for everyone around me.

Don’t even ask what I’ve eaten in the last week. In the midst of battling my migraine I tend to either eat nothing at all, just what I’m being made to eat, which usually is the bare minimum because I can’t stomach anything, or random things like chocolate, toast, donuts etc (nothing healthy or trigger friendly). And then mid migraine for some reason my brain focuses on what I have to do that day, so I zero in on needing to clean and lay myself out completely OR I am so done already that I simply can’t move off the couch at all. Those are the days where I struggle to decide if I do the dishes or take a shower.

Then when I’ve given up on trying to rest, I browse Facebook, type or find articles to read. There is a ton of ways to better myself as it turns out. The information online is endless. Twenty ways to loose your belly flab. Ten days to a better, calmer you. And here I think: 10 more emails to help me feel even more guilty about this day at home.

My normal routine used to be: hop out of bed, race through my day and voila start over. Now my days look very different: Before I am even fully conscious I perform my morning scan of my body for pain symptoms. Does my head hurt, throb or in any way give off signals that today is going to have to be a minimal trigger day? What about signs of nausea, neck pain or dizziness? I take stock of any signs of warnings of  potential triggers of an impending migraine that I may have to battle. It is a silent daily battle that I have hour by hour to see if I’m going to be OK. It used to never be this way. All day long I unconsciously (often consciously) check myself : Will this push me over the edge, or will I be OK if I make this decision?

I had been doing so well for so many months that I think I almost forgot about my condition. That I forgot that I need to take care of me too and that I do have this condition, regardless of how many “good” days may be in between, if I stack the triggers like a pile of unevenly stacked books, they will tumble and crash down. I can no longer simply just go morning to night, I have to stop in between or the attacks will get worse by the day. Despite how guilty I feel with each self-care ritual, I have to take care of me too in between.  We all need to do this, whether we have chronic health problems or not, or we will burn out. And so thankfully, today as I sit here because life slowed my butt right down again, even though it hurts like an ice-pick in the eye (no pun intended), back to reality.

My self help rituals and realities aren’t very fancy… they used to be and I even was writing about them and now this book has been sitting there untouched due to life getting in the way and me not being able to spend prolonged periods in front of the screen.

  • I have chronic VM. Sometimes I try to forget it or downplay it (usually I downplay it). I don’t make excuses for it and I don’t whine about it but it’s real.
  • Some things simply can’t be solved. Accepting that is healing.
  • In order to live a full life I got treatment, I’m on medication, continue my research, stay in touch with my Doctor. Often this scares me. But still it’s self-care.
  • My health is up and down. Usually it’s up now but that doesn’t mean I’ll always feel gross now.
  • Accepting that I’m not always going to feel up to getting dressed up and done up. This doesn’t mean I’m sloppy, it simply means I’m reserving my energy.
  • Knowing that some days I simply won’t be able to make a full dinner and we simply will have pizza. This doesn’t mean I’m lazy.
  • I cannot predict my need for rest. There is lots of nights I don’t sleep because of my VM, and it makes sense that my need to sleep is real, not a sign of laziness. Resting is self-care.
  • Doing Meditation to bring me back to my center & help make my world a little smaller.
  • And finally: writing to clear my full mind of it’s cluttered thoughts and brain dump. This also is healing.

So thank you to the emails and the post who inspired this post. Though all of them usually are overwhelming and often make me feel guilty about “not doing better”. So as a commitment to coming back to the self-care bit, I’ll work on not feeling guilty for the things I cannot change & instead take those times to take care of myself and rest. Other than that, I will just keep eating bits here and there & going to bed at 8:30 pm if I feel I need to that day.

Love,

Bea

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