Do you ever feel that you take two steps forward and three steps back? I have to confess, it’s been one of those weeks for me. It started out great, but quickly went downhill, and I’m not sure why.
As I wrote about last Saturday, my hubby and I went out for a little treat at Cinn City, and though I’m tempted to blame my issues on that (because of the gluten), I don’t really think it’s the culprit. I’ve eaten gluten on many occasions without the reaction I had this week.
This may fall under the TMI category, but one of my co-morbid conditions with my fibromyalgia is IBS. On Tuesday, I started having pain in my lower abdomen and Tuesday night, I was awake almost all night due to the pain. When I woke up Wednesday morning, I was absolutely miserable.
The pain in my abdomen was equalled only by the pain in my head, as the medication I take for my IBS gives me a terrible headache. I had all these great plans for the week, but none of them were going to happen. I had basically been stopped in my tracks.
When we live with chronic illness, these things happen much more often than we’d like.
It’s easy to become discouraged. I don’t know about you, but I start to feel as if I can never really make progress because I have so many starts and stops. It’s annoying!
Here’s what I’ve learned though — even though I may not feel I’m making progress, as long as I’m putting one foot in front of the other I’m moving forward.
I’ve learned to just ride out these interruptions and then get back to my normal self-care plan once they’re over. Although this two steps forward, three steps back life isn’t always easy, it can still be a fabulous life.
Here are a few things that have helped me ride out these interruptions:
- Keep things in perspective. It’s easy to head down that rabbit trail of “what if I never feel any better?” but the truth is, this current situation is only a small segment of time. It helps to realize that there will be times in our lives when we feel better and times when we’ll feel worse. The good news is, we’ve made it through all our worst days so far. Knowing that gives us the confidence that we can handle this too.
- Allow yourself to “just be.” This is a hard one for me. As most of you have probably figured out, my natural personality is Type-A, and I always feel I “should” be doing something. The longer I live with Fibromyalgia and its associated conditions the more I learn it’s okay to just do nothing sometimes, because in doing nothing I’m actually doing something — allowing my body to recuperate.
- Do whatever you need to do to feel better now. If that means lying in bed all day, we have to give ourselves permissions to do so and not feel guilty about it. We already have to deal with enough with this illness; we don’t need to take on guilt for something we can do nothing about.
- Once the ‘crisis’ period has passed, start to take small steps back to normal activities. In this case, I’m having to transition from my mostly liquid diet back to normal food, but I can’t just start eating the things I normally eat or I’ll end up right back where this started. It’s a gradual process of slowly adding foods, one at a time, until I can resume my regular diet. In my post Back On The Path To Self Care, I talked about how to get back to our regular self-care activities once we’ve had an interruption like this.
- Take stock of potential causes of the setback. If we can figure out triggers that set off flares, we have a better chance of preventing them in the future. I always try to retrace my steps, or in this case, what I ate, in order to identify anything that may have set it off, and if I figure it out, I mentally file it away so I can avoid that particular thing the next time. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to find a definite correlation, and that’s okay too.
Do you ever have those times when your illness just stops you in your tracks? How do you deal with them? Please share!