I do not make it a habit to use this space for rants and complaints.
I am not suggesting that I never talk about things that bother me. Of course I do. But today I’m feeling a bit lousy and I just want to say so.
I feel lousy.
If you read here regularly, you likely know that I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I don’t mention it much because it generally does not bother me much. I am blessed that my RA is very well managed and it is simply a part of who I am. I eat right, I (try to) get enough exercise, and I make every effort to care for my body.
While all of that is very good and beneficial, some days the thing just gets the best of me. For example, when a person with out RA picks up a cold or some other minor ailment, for someone who lives with a compromised immune system, it can be not so minor. And even minor things like a simple cold can take a hefty physical toll. Right now, for example, I’m feeling pretty fatigued. I have some aches and pains that are much more noticeable than usual. It’s one of those stretches where I remember that I sometimes have limitations related to the RA.
And that irritates the hell out of me.
I do not enjoy feeling fatigued and achy. I do not enjoy having to ask my Hub to help me do simple tasks in the kitchen like use the can opener, lift a pot, or open the pickle jar. Things that thwart and limit my independence grate on my nerves. It stresses me out.
Here’s the fantastic Catch-22: stress exacerbates my RA.
I know, right? So if I allow myself to get stressed about a flare, it is very easy for me to make it worse, without even trying. I have to remind myself to take it in stride, that I could be suffering far worse symptoms and limitations than I do, even on a bad day. Even so, it grates on my nerves. Some days are hard.
Now. Here’s one more thing to stack on the pile. If you read here pretty regularly, you also know that I have severe ADHD. Again, I am pretty well-managed and most days it’s just part of who I am and I cope pretty darn well with the many symptoms and characteristics of having that brain. One of my big triggers is what I call “too much input.”
When I experience too much sensory input, it exacerbates my symptoms. Sounds kind of crazy, right? I know. I like to compare myself to the guy in Poe’s short story “The Fall of the House of Usher.’ Of course, he’s kind of losing his mind and does not have a firm grip on reality, so…maybe not the best comparison.
When I am over-stimulated, I am much like a small child who is over-stimulated. I get cranky and irritable, over-emotional, easily frustrated, etc. Sometimes I feel like having a tantrum. Sometimes I have a tantrum – and believe me, that’s not as hilarious as it sounds at first. When I hit my tipping point of too much sensory input, I know I need to remove myself from the input. If it’s sound, I need to find quiet. If it’s light, I need to find dark. If it’s physical sensation (think itchy clothing or a tag in the back of your shirt), I need to find something more comfortable to wear.
So what does all this mean?
Right now my sensory input level is past tipping point. But the sensory input that is driving me there is my own physical symptoms from the RA. I can’t remove myself from the physical input that is frustrating me because it’s my own body.
Yeah. It feels exactly the way you think it does.
It’s like being in a bad dream and you know you want to wake up, but you can’t. In some ways, it is kind of like the guy in “The Fall of the House of Usher.” He’s losing his grip on reality and is keenly aware of that fact, but can do nothing to stop it.
The difference is that I know I can stop it; I just have to get to a place where balance is restored. I need to rest. I need to adjust my food intake so that I’m eating and drinking things that help both my RA and my ADHD symptoms.
And I need to remember to be compassionate with myself. I wasn’t doing that very well yesterday and I have to remember how important that is. And I do know that I could feel far worse and that there are many people who live with far more pain than i do every single day. That doesn’t change the fact that today I feel crappy. Some days are hard.
And so if you’ll excuse my rant and my lack of something pretty for you to look at here today, that’s kind of all I have to say. I could delete this right now and pretend it doesn’t exist. But somehow acknowledging that I’m really damn irritated at my body right now is helpful. It’s kind of like getting the poison out.
Here ends my very small complaint. Now I can go rest a bit.