Sunday, May 21

how to hurt a tiny bit less

Bubbly relief, my head has been still for three days after forty difficult ones. Life with the ability to move my eyes is very sweet. I can eat a whole meal because I'm not swaying from fork movement, and nicest of all, I can bend down my head to kiss Aurelia with ease at any time. My flighty little creature was nigh impossible to cheerfully care for when each movement was torture to me.
The hundred eye movements that occur in a few seconds were leaving me giddily exhausted and really thoroughly miserable, but now I am grounded again. For now at least.

The last month of vertigo and the onset of cold weather has forced me to open my pain management tool kit.

When I became an adult, the variety who is ill most of the time, I didn't have any tools, bar going for a walk when I wanted to scream. I had not the foggiest idea of how to deal with discomfort or live with compassion towards my body. I felt compelled to push through, and not deviate away from an impeccable attendance record and relentless work ethic. Sometimes I couldn't sit through dinner without feeling anxious and struggling to breathe, because I needed to get back to practice. Relaxing was a foreign concept to me; how did one even go about this? And how would one quiet the barrage of accusatory thoughts of "this is time wasting indulgence" anyway?

When you endure pain for many years in a row, it corrodes your desire and ability to push through. Short term, much can be tolerated, but long term it wears you down. Sometimes even two days into suffering you don't feel so able to deal with it, and you start googling with ferocity to find an idea for relief. There is nothing gung ho left in me now days, and every fibre of my being craves soft gentle ways of living. Once I would have viewed taking a hot bath daily as indulgent, now it belongs in my toolbox of how to manage pain, lethargy, and associated sadness. 
These are my most used tools:

1. Sparkling Mineral Water
Drinking this is not like drinking water. The prickly bubbles feel so good on never ending sore throats. I feel slightly more effervescent after drinking it every single time, and wish I could afford to drink it constantly*. It's fun watching it bubble over when you open it, and not worrying that it will stain your clothes. Energy giving. Tonic.

*If soda stream produced the super prickly wake-you-up kind that I like, I would get one.

2. Kombucha
Enlivening like mineral water, but with great taste and a sense of drinking alcohol - good for people who find alcohol makes their muscles droop into the earth, and their heads spin (even more). Also good for people who are avoiding intoxicating their young.

3. Spiky ball
$2 Kmart purchase, worth far more. I use it regularly on my back and neck, and it saves me going to the physio 10x a week. Best used after heat, and followed with a heat cream.

4. Bath
Obviously this is not good if your blood pressure is low and baths make you pass out. But if you can hack them, oh that hot water relieves not only muscle pains but emotional too. Sometimes I use a guided meditation on my phone so that I will relax fully from toe to scalp and breathe deeply - especially when I feel I can't cope with all the sickness.

5. 90% Lindt
Low in sugar and highly satisfying. One square each evening with tea (tea is such an obvious tool that I won't give it a number, but it is my most used in winter). Work up to it if seems bitter.
6. Chewing gum
Unhealthy sweeteners, probably carcinogenic like everything else in life, but very helpful if you have zilch in the tank and really need to drive somewhere or walk. Gives a little energetic boost.

7. Flight mode on
Resting with a phone is more stimulating than it appears. It's lights, colours, mental chatter, and multitasking. It promises to distract you, and it truly does, but it distracts from peace too. Flight mode on, phone away, eyes closed takes self discipline but revives me better than scrolling.

8. Night sky
Sometimes before I go to bed I sneak out the back door and stare at the stars and the beautiful moon, and almost every time I get a wave of perspective. The celestial vastness exclaims to me that tomorrow could be better, that there is something to be thankful for, that the Creator of both the sky and myself can be trusted.

9. Text pals
Friends, in similarly leaky boats and less leaky ones, who are happy for most of the friendship to be conducted via messages of honesty and empathy. A friend who doesn't expect replies within 5 seconds and doesn't expect 'good vibes only!' Then be friends forever more.

If you have more magical methods for managing discomfort, please share them with me because each of these is a survival treasure, and I'm collecting.

1 comment:

  1. Love this! I second many of these, Dee! For me definitely yoga. Sometimes just stretching my sore muscles gives me a little energy boost.