I am coming off of what I consider to be one of the worst flares I have ever had. I would place it third only behind when I was first diagnosed and the year we had two overseas moves. My body definitely reacts negatively to stress, especially that which I cannot control. While the pain of a bad flare in almost unbearable, to me the emotional toll that it takes is much greater and often harder to recover from. I am use to having limitations and pain, but when those are magnified, I begin to feel angry. When I can’t contribute in normal ways, I feel worthless. When my routines are disrupted, I feel out of control. The less I do, the more antisocial I feel and the less I want to interact with people. I feel stagnant and I start to question the purpose and direction of my future. After a flare, I often feel cheated of that time in my life and focus on the guilt and shame caused by all the things I didn’t get done or didn’t get to do making myself feel even more.
After a conversation with my brother, I decided to take a different approach this time and to focus on the positives. I tried to think of all the things I did do during my latest flare and I surprised myself – in a huge way. I actually did get quite a bit done. I also realized that when I am forced to slow down, my creative side comes out. While some of these things may seem insignificant and most are in no way things I would have normally done, they are how I spent the last few weeks of my life. I can’t get this time back, so the best I can do is acknowledge that this is my life and find value in everyday.
During my latest flare, I:
- Caught up on some much needed sleep.
- Had some amazing snuggle time with my dog.
- Said goodbye to a good friend, who moved back to the states.
- Planned and booked a super cheap trip to Croatia with another friend whom I will be saying goodbye to really soon. If I’m going to feel bad, I might as well feel bad on the beach!
- Made my own shampoo – unfortunately hubby is gone so he couldn’t tell me that if I want to live like a hobo, he will quit his job and make all my dreams come true While he always supports me, he doesn’t always get everything that I do.
- Reupholstered and painted a stool for my bathroom.
- Hired someone to clean my bathrooms and floors.
- Lost my Roomba. Seriously, I need to get one of the neighborhood kids to come look under the sofas and beds.
- Sold some furniture we don’t need any more.
- Organized our foyer table and created a charging station in one of the drawers.
- Created a plan to redo our dog’s room (closet). I have everything I need; I just need to do it now.
- Ordered stuff to reorganize our laundry room.
- Relapsed and started drinking diet soda again. Oh wait that’s not positive, but it tastes so good. Actually, I am back on the wagon now so it’s all good.
- Took a sewing class. I was not feeling well, but this class had been canceled the last three times I tried to take it, so I grabbed my craft gloves and I made myself go. I am so glad I did. I really want to learn to make my own pillows.
- Sewed a stuffed “monster” on my own.
- Gave the paleo diet I try. I lost 9 pounds and discovered I really don’t like meat at all.
- Watched the last four seasons of one of my guilty pleasures, “Big Love”. I really don’t know what I am going to do without the Hendricksons in my life.
- Bought plants to replace those that I had previously killed.
Instead of feeling like the last few weeks were wasted, I feel pretty good about the things I got done. I have no guilt or shame and I am now ready to tackle some of the things I neglected like exercise, laundry and emails. How do you make the most of a flare? Are you able to find the good in the bad?