the MIRREN LEE

The 2012 Act Three Journey of an Actress/Coach/Writer.

Day 28 In Neutral

Posted by themirrenlee on 28/01/2012

In Neutral.

That’s where I am today. I mentioned in yesterday’s post “Ups and Downs” that I would suffer today because Fibromyalgia has a “one day on, one day off” pattern with many sufferers, of which I am one. I know the pattern by now, and arrange my life around it. I’m sure those of you who face the same challenge (and it could be with any condition) know what I’m talking about. You “normal” people will pack a lot into a day, and then the next day you might find yourselves feeling a bit tired. We Fibromyalgics feel like we’ve been hit by a truck; it’s like waking up with the world’s worst hangover after taking a beating in a bar brawl! I used to actually look for bruises on my body – I figured that much pain must leave a mark somewhere. But nope, that’s the problem: no one can see it, and yet we can really, really FEEL it.

The great news for me is that I’m bouncing back much quicker than I used to. Before I started sleeping properly again (in December!), I could go into a full on Flare that would last for days, or even weeks, if I was extremely unlucky. Luck does play a part in it only because we have no real control when a Flare might come, or how long it might last. We can only do our very best to prevent them (or at least not prolong one) by being as careful about nurturing ourselves as possible. Getting deep, unmedicated sleep goes a long way to helping the whole condition (especially when it’s accompanied by chronic fatigue, which is the norm); without it, well let’s just say it’s a very useful form of torture for anyone so inclined.

So even though I overdid it yesterday, and am suffering a bit today, I don’t regret doing it because I had a nice time. More importantly, I now feel more in control than ever of what I know the consequences might be. That is a MAJOR fresh start for me this year.

However, one of the consequences is harder to control than the others because of my sinus issues, and that is a headache. Aren’t they awful? I know you sufferers, particularly of migraines, know what I’m talking about. They feel like they take you over from the top down, and you can’t think or function properly. Depending on the severity, you either want to do very little, or simply lie in a dark room with a cold cloth on your face.

Mine has hung in there all day, laughing at any drugs I throw at it, scoffing at the cold cloth, and clamping vice-like slowly and steadily across my head until I can hardly think. So we come to being in Neutral. Yesterday I talked about my idea of life being a roller coaster – a series of ups and downs. Being in Neutral is what happens when the roller coaster comes to a standstill for a moment because you’re not doing much of anything.

I used to get so anxious and guilty about being in Neutral because of any illness/injury/condition (will be made clear when I write about growing up – not “allowed” to get sick) that the stress emotionally was worse than whatever was happening to me physically.

Now, however, I’ve learned the best thing to do when faced with forced Neutrals: treat them as “Time Outs” (See January 17th Post for some ideas of what to do to take advantage of these.). It only took me a few hundred years of counselling to be able to do this! (And I still struggle if it feels like a Neutral is going on too long.) Don’t beat yourself up, get frustrated/depressed, or go all negative on yourself. Do what you can do (better than that, what you want to do), nurture yourself as much as you need to, and tell everyone who cares about you what’s going on. If they really do care, they’ll understand that you may not be able to do what you had planned before you went into Neutral. If they don’t understand, then they don’t really care, so be your own health advocate and say, “Fuck ’em.”

Notice I say you’re in Neutral, you’re not stalled completely. The engine hasn’t died. You’re just conserving your energies until you can put yourself in Drive again. It’s kind of funny to say a car (or a person) is “busy idling” because of course that’s an oxymoron. But that’s what you’re doing: busy allowing yourself to do nothing.

I know it’s okay that I’m in Neutral today because tomorrow’s coming (in fact, it’s my BIRTHDAY!), and I’m always excited about seeing what it will bring. I hope I’m back in Drive mode again, but if I’m not, that’s okay, too. Even dealing with the Neutrals is riding the roller coaster, and that’s what life is all about. How well we handle it determines our level of happiness, because “it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you react to it.”.

I’m just idlin’ …

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