Wednesday I triggered a huge flare and a huge setback in my progress over the past two months. As of yet, I am unsure of the extent of this setback; in the past it has ranged from several days to up to four months for me to get back to “normal,” with normal being levels of pain that are moderate and do not leave me bedridden for the majority of the day. Thankfully, I am guessing this one will be more towards the ends of several weeks than several months.
As always, I look back on this week to try and figure out what in the world happened. I usually have some semblance of an idea, and this week it is clear that my activity level and commitments were higher than normal. Typically, I use Monday and Tuesday to rest and do small amounts of work around the house to prepare for going to work on Wednesday and Thursday. This week I had an eye appointment, a meeting, and several shopping trips that kept me out of the house for half the day on both Monday and Tuesday.
Wednesday I had work for a few hours, and I left directly from there to a doctor’s appointment to get paperwork signed to release me from jury duty. It was actually a great doctor’s appointment, and she signed my paperwork. But I was at the appointment for several hours, and the drive home was so long with traffic that it sent me into this flare.
Yesterday, I spent most of the day depressed and crying. Then around 2:30, I dragged my body out of the house to get to work. The good thing about work is that I love it, and I came home emotionally in a better place, but physically I was and still am a wreck.
So, here I am again – the beginning of a flare. Giving up is not an option, but it is a momentarily comforting thought. Each time this happens, I feel like I can’t do it again, but I always do. I always crawl and claw my way out until life gains some semblance of normalcy again.
So, these are my goals moving forward in these next days to months of gaining back what I lost.
- Be kind to others. Pain leaves me prone to anger, irritability, and complaining. I used to think I was a nice person, but pain brings out a side of me that I absolutely abhor at times. Thankfully, by God’s grace, I know that just because I am prone and vulnerable to sin in these ways when I am in pain, does not means I need to be controlled or give in to this anger. So, this time, I choose to be kind. Lord give me strength!
- Be kind to myself. Right now I am blaming myself for causing this setback. I keep replaying the last few days in my head to figure out what I should have done and planned differently. But the truth is, I had to go to work, and I had to go to the doctor’s appointment at that time if I wanted any chance to get out of jury duty. Blaming myself and feeling guilty does no good to anyone.
- Allow myself to rest. Today is an all-day-lying-on-the-couch day. In the past I have tried to push through setbacks, but for me, this never works. Taking time to rest is the most productive thing I can do right now, and my body will let me know when it is ready to move again.
- Use my time productively. Just because I am lying down does not mean I need to spend all day watching TV (although, trust me, some days are bad enough this is all I can do!) But today, I can take this time that must be spent lying down and work on my writing. Being productive puts me in a better frame of mind mentally and emotionally, which is greatly needed to help me stay hopeful.
- Remember Psalm 9:9-10. “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”
- Believe Psalm 9:9-10. When my mind begins to draw connections between my suffering and God leaving me, I have to slow down and remind myself that the opposite is the case. God is close to those who suffer. He is near to the brokenhearted. I can seek him in all circumstances, and he will not forsake me. In my suffering, I must go to God.
- Take things one day at a time. I’m praising God that I do not have to work today, but my mind keeps moving to the next few days and the worries of how I will get through my commitments. I must choose to take things one day at a time, focusing on today and knowing God will grant me strength for tomorrow when it is needed.
How do you stay hopeful in the midst of a flare? What do you do to get through?