>RAIN

>I like rain. I could even say I love rain. But even I am starting to think this is over the top. Has the sun shone in June? One or two days, tops, if I remember correctly. We are dank and water-logged in the Northeast. People are showing signs of winter SAD. It is gray, gray, gray every single day. Oh, I’m a poet. Cute. *giggle*

On the plus side, I have done just about every thing that I wanted to do in reorganizing and decluttering my space. I have some papers to sort through, but that’s it. Finally. It really feels good to have accomplished so much. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my friends, but it is done. Yay, me.

I was glancing through a blog roll on another site and one of them was about how chronic pain can be a blessing rather than a tragedy. I think I agree. A lot of us go through life on auto-pilot, not stopping to notice or consider. Life changing illness forces you to do both. You have to think of new ways to do the things you’ve always taken for granted. You become acutely aware of all the steps it takes to accomplish something you’ve done without thinking before becoming ill. Cooking is my big one, but there are lots of others. Getting going in the morning. Get out of bed, not always easy. Make the bed. Take the shower, which involves getting the towel, robe and slippers handy, doing the actual shower, drying off, tidying up, brushing teeth–with steps of its own–getting your clothing, getting dressed. Each one involves energy that you may not have, or pain that you cannot avoid. In a class I took once, we had to write down the steps to making a peanut butter sandwich for someone who had never done it. It starts with finding the bread. Think about it. There are so many steps–open the jar, find a knife, open the bread package, dip the knive and scoop up some peanut butter, and on and on. Every step uses up a bit of your precious energy, or causes some pain, or both.

Having to be aware on a second-by-second basis really makes you see your life in an entirely new way. It has made me much more appreciative of the things I can do, of the friends who help me, of the assistance provided to me by the elder services. It has made me grateful for my tv, for my pc, for my phone. I am not alone when I can reach out through the internet or a phone call. I am entertained without the major effort of leaving the house. A lot to be thankful for. A lot to consider. It’s a good thing over all, as most things that seem disastrous at first can turn out to be. What does everyone else think?

8 thoughts on “>RAIN

  1. I would be reluctant to agree with your assertion about a life-changing illness being a blessing, I simply don’t know. What your blog tells me though is you live ‘consciously’ because of the illness, which is the way we should all live, I think, consciously. That way, there would be less to regret later, because most regrets are a result of not living consciously. I hope this makes some sense. PS I’m amazed at your resilience, you don’t seem to have ever succumbed to ‘learned helplessness’, which has taken away my ability to stick it out.

  2. Maybe not a blessing, but also not a tragedy, depending of course on the illness. I’ve tried hard NOT to develop learned helplessness. It is a struggle, and sometimes I can feel myself slipping into that mindset. I fight it. Every time. I do not want to be my illness. This is not how I self-identify. And I will NOT give in to it. It gets me down, it limits my lilfe, but I still have a life, and a good one at that, in spite of pain and fatigue and depression. They are not me. Wow. Brought up some issues there, it seems. I try not to whine, I don’t go from doctor to doctor or try every new remedy that comes along. I just try to accept my life as it is, make the best of the hand I’m dealt, but never limit my options if some miracle cure should come along. I tell myself that I will NOT be beaten, damn it. Not easy, not always working, but I keep trying. Would I rather have not gotten ill? Of course. I had a job I loved, and was recreating my life after my husband left, and then I lost everything again when I got sick. But this is my life, and it won’t last forever, so I am determined to have as much fun and get as much enjoyment out of every day as is possible, given my limitations. No running a marathon for me. For sure. But there are other things. Good things. Learning about zen really made a difference, too. Not a religion, a way of looking at life that just works for me. Talk about long comments. LOL

  3. I don’t mind the long comments. Sometimes I don’t want to respond to comments because I would hate sounding inauthentic, but I thought you should know that you are running your own marathon in a way. The biggest battle I’m fighting is against learned helplessness, not the depression itself. I think the little steps you take, steps to an uncluttered living space, without ever giving in to that “why the hell” little voice is much more than a marathon.

  4. I never thought of it that way. I like that. I am running my own private marathon. I think that if you are aware that you have an issue with learned helplessness, or with anything, really, you are then able to take little steps here and there to fight it. A lot of it is negative thinking, I think. Sometimes my first thought is, ‘I can’t….”. I’ve learned that when negative thoughts of any kind begin to intrude, I say (to myself) a firm ‘STOP.’ It took awhile, but now I do it automatically. I also try to remember to say, ‘I could’, rather than ‘I should’. It helps with attitude. I should get up and clean the kitchen. Guilt. Resistance. Negative emotions. I COULD get up and clean the kitchen begins the thought process of ‘but I really don’t want to right now’, or ‘but I’m in the middle of doing something much more interesting that cleaning’, or ‘you know what? The stupid kitchen will still be there when I have more energy and motivation.’ Point being, ‘could’ changes your inner dialogue, in a good way. ‘Should’ begets negativity, which I am trying to avoid as much as possible. Why, yes, I was in therapy for a long time. Why do you ask? 🙂

    • I hope you don’t mind me using your blog for this sort of exchange, let me know if email is better. Your response above, it’s so true. Once you get a handle on what’s wrong, you should be in a position to work towards overcoming it, in theory. In practice, my thought patterns seem to be set in stone: I encounter a problem, my mind immediately sees it as like the one from last week, the one that got me down, so even before I can think about the thought process I’m down. The depression medication has helped somewhat. The severity of the ‘down’ is unlike before. It’s manageable.

      But that’s just it, the above thought process can play itself out a thousand times a day, and I end up feeling unable to take those small steps to overcome it. I have access to a psychologist but I’m unable to pay for successive sessions to deal with the small day-to-day stuff. I usually see the psychologist about ‘the major’ stuff,like suicidal thought etc. Please don’t feel obligated to offer a response, I was just struck by how you seem to get the ‘small’ stuff done…

  5. Email is fine. It’s in my profile somewhere. Maybe I should do a link???

    This is where the ‘STOP!’ comes in. As soon as you realize the negative thought, say it to yourself firmly. This does not work overnight, and you have to remember to do it consistently, but it does work. I find myself doing it many times during the day, when bad memories start to intrude, when ‘I can’t’ rears its ugly head, lots of reasons. Don’t give up. That’s the key to anything, I think. Just don’t give up. Like anything worth doing, it takes practice. Lots and lots of practice. If I can do it, you can do it, because I’m just another messed up human, nothing special at all. Just don’t give up.

    I don’t mind responding. It’s rather nice to have someone new to ‘talk’ to. Email if you wish, I am so fine with that.

  6. Hi. I’m trying the ‘STOP’ strategy to interrupt negative thoughts. Easier to do when I’m ‘self-aware’. But other times I catch myself a little late into the negative thoughts. I’ll let you know how it goes. But the reason I went back to this thread was so I could thank you for taking your time to respond, you probably think nothing of it but I’m grateful because you could have chosen not to.

    I read your blog like I do a book, when I get the time. Sometimes I get lots of it, and at other times not. Keep writing.

  7. I’m happy to have someone to ‘talk’ to, as I said. The ‘stop’ thing gets easier over time, and becomes automatic, at least in my experience. All I know is what I’ve done, and what’s worked for me. This worked, and works. Anyway, please feel free to comment or email. If I’m having a pain and/or fatigue day/days, it may take me a bit to respond, but that doesn’t mean I’m not interested. Just so you know. 🙂

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