the MIRREN LEE

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

Day 44 One Day Off

Posted by themirrenlee on 13/02/2012

One Day Off.

That’s what today was. I happen to be one of those with Fibromyalgia who follow a “one day on, one day off” pattern. It’s like the old saying about what you eat: “What you eat today, walks and talks tomorrow.”

It means that if I do too much on one day, then the next I’ll wake up asking if anyone got the license plate of that truck. It feels exactly like I’ve been in a car accident, or maybe taken a beating, the day before – or maybe what people feel when they over exercise, like running a marathon.

I’ve tried just pushing through, and all it got me was needing a longer recovery time. Two days on became 3 days off, etc. So now I listen to my body, and the patterns it needs. In fact, I listen to what it needs in general; I’ve become expert at interpreting what it’s trying to tell me. I’m sure anyone could do this, but most people just don’t. John Bradshaw talks about this in “Homecoming,” the seminal book on your Inner Child. He says we treat our bodies like children who get ignored. If it says it wants ice cream and a rest, we tell it to shut up, and then we work even harder.

It’s no wonder so many people get Burn Out, or exist on some type of medication. If they’d just stop and listen to their Inner Child, maybe a simple bowl of ice cream and a nap would make them feel better!

My “day off” means I work from home, not that I don’t do anything. It means that I confine my energies to the area of my home, instead of going out on errands, and I work mostly from my bed, which is set up as my office. A lot of people ask why I do that, like somehow working from bed is not as “real” as working in front of a desk. I have tried every position and set-up I can to be able to work with the minimum of pain, and I always come back to being propped up in bed. I have a million pillows I can shift around to support all parts of my body, and everything from blankets to different weights of cardigans and shawls to accommodate shifts in temperature. My body likes it best, so I listen to it.

When I listen to my body, I can be more productive; I also have less pain and fatigue. Being productive with a chronic illness makes that condition much easier to bear – I feel more in control of it.

So tomorrow will be a “day on”, and I’ll go out and do the errands on my list. I’ll actually only do a “half day on”, though, because I already know that I have to take someone to the doctor on Wednesday, and that will be the second part of a “day on”. Then on Thursday I know I’ll need a “day off” again at home.

I plan my life this way, and let people know about my schedule, instead of hiding how I feel like I used to and saying yes to everything, even if it meant several days in a row “on”, leaving me wrecked for days. I’m sure I can’t be the only person who doesn’t like to admit they can’t do everything, whether they have a chronic condition or not! However, shame/pride/guilt/ego, whatever it is that makes us ignore what our bodies need are not going to comfort us if we turn around and find we can no longer make them do what we want. Whipping ourselves like a tortured animal is only going to make us break down sooner.

I’m a great believer in prevention over cure. Listening to what I need emotionally/mentally/spiritually/physically at all times helps me as much as possible to stay as healthy as I can before problems set in. I have enough to do dealing with the health issues I already have, without adding to the challenges by ignoring what new messages my body sends me.

I always feel so sad for the people who ignore the pleas of their Inner Child for more rest, better food, a little fun exercise, some creativity, a mental health day off, or some laughs and fun. As the saying goes, “If you treated your friends the way you treat yourself, you’d have no friends.”

I think it’s also appropriate to say, “If you treated a real child the way you treat your Inner Child, someone would call the cops!”

People are always saying to each other, “Look after yourself,” without really meaning it, or even doing it themselves. But it’s really important that you do. The better you feel, the more you can help others feel better. Doesn’t that sound like a recipe for a happier world?

I’m just havin’ my day off …

4 Responses to “Day 44 One Day Off”

  1. I know what you mean. A day off is a great way to deal with fibro pain and still live a life and get something done. I too work at home and if need be, I take a nap or just rest for 20 minutes. Have you done any food allergy testing? Since I discovered all the foods I’m allergic to, including eggs and milk, I feel a thousand times better. I don’t hurt as much and have more energy. Look after yourself, and I really mean it!

    • Thanks for your feedback – always great to hear from another sufferer! I’ve heard the food allergy connection a lot, and it seems to work for some people, but I’ve been tested for everything (originally as part of my asthma issue), and I’m allergic mostly to air borne irritants. With food, it’s really only some preservatives that affect me – and I’m talking about my breathing – such as the one they use in wine. If I want to have a drink, I need to take an antihistamine first. It got to be so tedious that I just stopped drinking at all! I’m so glad to hear that you got some relief from food issues. I always say: whatever works. Continue to look after yourself – and I really mean it, too!

      • Wow, I’d take the antihistamine and have a glass or two of wine now and then. I can’t drink much wine because the sugar (or does it turn to sugar?) make my arthritic joints hurt like crazy. But, during the weekend, I have a glass or two and look forward to the treat. Have a great day and keep your posts coming.

      • I’ve found it easier when I feel like a drink to have a shot of vodka with orange! It’s so funny how I’m “reduced” to having hard liquor if I want a drink because wine is such a hassle. I’ve never heard about the sugar and arthritic joint connection – thank god I only have a bit of osteo in my lower back cuz I LOVE my sugar. It’s great how you’ve learned to listen to your body and find out what helps it. I’ve been to your site and what you write is interesting. Just realized I forgot to follow you. I’ll do that. Thanks for reading.

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