3 Ways to Keep Going When You Just Can't

Recovery is a bitter word.

I'm not at my best just now, forgive me if this isn't one of my "happy" posts.  I've been kicked in the teeth too many times lately to find the positivity...but I'm trying.

I haven't completely given up although I was there Sunday.

If you would have told me I could've immediately had a lumbar fusion Sunday I would've done it in a heartbeat. I might not have been in the right mindset.

I was also saying screw everything I've done to feel better with the arachnoiditis.  Screw yoga and dry brushing and fasciablasting, screw The Miracle Morning, and screw self-improvement.

I've come to realize that this life-long illness journey of chronic pain is highs and lows.  Two steps forward and five back.

The day before my 6th year anniversary with #leohusband my L5 shifted. I was simply turning over in bed and felt it move.

Normal people, this isn't a big deal, me it's a big deal. 

L4-S1 is where my adhesive arachnoiditis is, so when my L5 moved out of place, it's like someone put the lower half of my body in the electric chair for three days straight.

I could barely move to get to brunch with my husband, the pit fire night we had with friends was spent in agony, and the dress I was so excited about wearing to our fancy dinner showed my back brace...so I didn't wear it.

The next week was spent trying to get my chiropractor to stabilize my L5, which didn't work, damn my hypermobility. Fluffly Alarm Clock had surgery which snowballed into incompetence and subsequent infections, all the while my L5 is moving in and out of place.  

My back muscles, spinal cord, and nerves vacillating between agony and throbbing, stabbing agony.

Zero downtime to try to heal.

Friday of last week I put my back brace on and kept it there. Sunday morning my L5 moved again (why does it always happen in bed?) and I freaking lost it. 

I was so done. 

My wonderful #leohusband just held me while I unleashed the frustrations of the last 20 days.

I feel like this came out of nowhere and yet I knew it had been building, I just didn't take time for myself.

3 Ways to Keep Going When You Just Can't

1. Take a Day Off

My daily grind isn't a desk and although most people would view the things I do a sweet, sweet vacation day at the spa for them, staying on top of my chronic illness so I can function 'normally' is my job.

Seriously, take a day or two or three off but don't make it more than three days. 

Sometimes you really do need to just bing watch Jessica Jones Season 2 or slay some dragons in Skyrim or eat paleo popsicles.  

Don't beat yourself up for not doing your required yoga, PT, meditation and lymph drainage, or whatever it is that you have to do to feel 'normal' with your illness.

Forgive yourself the guilt of taking a vacation from your daily battle of illness so you can come back refreshed ready to go to bat again. (This sounds good...I'm still working on the guilt part)

2. Find a Go-To Activity that is Guaranteed to Bring Joy

I have a couple of activities that get me into a better mood. 

One is what I call Tiger Time, time well spent with my Fluffy Alarm Clock. Now, I can truly be in a self-pitying mood and just sit on the floor and cry while petting him but either way, he helps to get me in a better mood.

Get outside.  

Even though my backyard looks barren, I will still get outside and sit in a chair on the porch. I just enjoy being out there instead of inside my house all the time, being couped up can have negative consequences for me. Maybe I bring coffee or wine, and a good book or my bullet journal, either way getting fresh air and sun will improve my outlook on life.

Plus Tiger usually rolls around in the grass which is extra cute.

Play a game. 

Sometimes you just need a win and even a small victory at solitaire or mahjong, or heck do a board game night with the fam or friends. Even getting on your XBox or PS4, to play through one of your all-time favorite games can help.  

Let's be realistic killing those Aliens in Mass Effect has got to put anyone in a better mood...plus there's that whole saving the galaxy thing...just don't get sucked into hours of play with zero movement. Set a timer and get up every 30 - 45 minutes.

Sunday my husband and I co-oped Borderlands 2 to get me in a better mood and it worked.

3. Own Your Funk

Be open with friends and family to let them know you are in a funk.  You're just not happy.  Things are not going your way and you need a win because otherwise, you feel like you are going to lose your mind.

You'll be surprised at the kindness of others.  My husband brought home flowers out of the blue Sunday night with the grocery run.  Stargazer Lillies and I can smell them from where I'm typing this.

It may not seem a big deal but my husband does not spend money.  I mean at all.  So it means a lot to me when he buys me something as transient as flowers because he did it simply to make me smile.

Slumps are natural and 'the straw that breaks the camel's back' happens to everyone.  It's just a bit more devastating and extreme when you suffer from chronic illness. 

I guess it's because life is so terribly unfair already and then more crap happens to you. That old saying about "God only gives you what you can handle...then God must think I'm a total bad ass."

And you are, sometimes you just need to be reminded of that and give yourself a break.

Say out loud "I'm in a funk but it is not forever!"  "This funk will end" or whatever you need to do to vent out your frustration that at this current moment the world is out to get you.

If these things don't do it for you, read this.