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.

Moving on.

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.




Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

26 thoughts on “An Acuteness Of The Senses

  1. I hope you feel better. I am horribly impatient with being sick. I suffered from Chronic Fatigue for a few years. I would get so angry at being sick. My mom always reminds me, “Be patient with your body. You have to give your body time.” I try to remember this because it helps me take a breath and calm down (since stress makes many illnesses worse. Even mild ones.) I hope you feel some relief after “getting the poison out.” *hugs*

  2. Aw, I hope you feel better very soon. I am a very cranky sick person but then again I can also be a fairly impatient and cranky healthy person as well. Be kind to yourself.

  3. my mother had rheumatoid arthritis, so I understand exactly how you were feeling and what stress does to autoimmune diseases. It exaggerates my fibromyalgia too, sort of like chasing your tail! I also understand the overstimulation issue, that’s very true of me, and if I can’t escape the source, I could act out in pretty ugly ways. I am hoping that with some rest you will be able to feel better and to drag your attitude into a more peaceful place, sending healing thoughts your way. XO XO

    1. Yup, I remember you telling me that, Josie. I know you get it. Love your word choice – to drag my attitude to a better place. 😀 Haha – yes, it does feel like there may need to be some dragging. But I will get there. And all the love here in these comments is helping quite a lot, actually! XOXO right back!

  4. I hope you feel better. I DESPISE itchy neck tags. They drive me CRAZY. I have a stress-aggravated skin disorder and it drives me crazy when it flares, which only increases the stress. Catch 22. I get it. I hope you find what you need to de-stressify, and honor your body, so it continues to function for you.

    1. It is definitely a Catch-22 where stress-induced conditions are concerned, Val. Stress causes them, they cause stress, the stress makes it worse…and round and round you go. I am working on my de-stress and some of it is going to include that ridiculously delicious dressing Jen and I love so much.

  5. best in terms of a speedy ‘un-stressing’

    I can identify with you, to a certain degree, of that feeling of ‘don’t let it get to you’…except, for me, neither element is a actual, physical condition. I am grateful for that…. the exhaustion that comes with bearing up under the strain of a physical condition like you describe must be a major factor in and of itself.
    hope that the stress fades quickly, perhaps in reading all the Comments I see here, there will be some respite (if only temporary).

    1. Clark, maybe that’s why I put the post up, against my better judgment. I have good friends in this blog world and believe me, each and every post here is helping in many ways. Most days, I don’t let it get to me but there are times when even the most stalwart would have a hard time holding up.
      Thanks for the comment and the kind words.

  6. :{ feel better. You can vent …. you must…. having patience with a body that commits treason on occasion is a real challenge. You have my utmost respect as you seem to be someone who manages it as best you can. There will always be fallout as you are only human, and you have an exacerbating and remitting illness…no gift… Making peace with your bod is never easy under those conditions.

    1. Oh, I freaking LOVE that – a body that commits treason. That is EXACTLY what it’s like. Ugh. I really to try to keep well managed and not whine. I have a great example of how to face this thing head-on and not cave to it in my Mom. She is ridiculously functional for someone with this at the age she is. Doesn’t keep her sitting still for even a minute, though. (I really do think that’s her secret…NOT sitting still.)
      I am completely peeved and frustrated with my physical self today, but am trying VERY hard to remember to not beat it up in any regard and be kind. Trying.

  7. Aw hun… I’m so sorry you feel so crappy!! I was thinking while I was reading this, how cathartic it must be for you to be able to so detailed and so clearly elaborate and describe what you experience. You did it so well.

    And I’m so sorry. For both the RA and the ADHD and especially when they collide. Sigh…

    Praying for you, sweet friend.

    1. Thanks, Chris. I really do try to avoid the diary-entry type blog post. Just kind of felt like I needed to get it off my mind.
      It is nine kinds of not funny when any of my alphabet soup collides.
      Thank you always for your prayers. 🙂

  8. I think this is precisely what a blog is for. So sorry to hear that you’re feeling crappy, and bloody bad luck that the one is triggering the other is triggering the other. A trifecta of crapola and I hope it’s over SOON!

    1. Yeah, the trifecta of crapola is not a fun game. I’ll be OK. I’ve had a very good and healthy dinner full of things that help. I’ve had two smoothies full of good things that help. I’ve had lots of lovely comments and love and virtual hugs from friends and that also helps. Have to finish up a tiny bit of stuff I have been wanting to do all day and then I think it’s early bedtime for me.

  9. You rant away friend.
    Remember, this space is yours. Use it for therapy and in doing so you’re giving a voice to those who suffer with RA as well and you are educating people like me who don’t know what you go through.
    I really wish that you didn’t hurt like this. I have chronic back pain but it pales in comparison. People don’t understand that pain does take more than just a physical toll.
    I’m sending some positive vibes your way. Be good to you and keep us updated xoxo

    1. Let me say this – first, thank you, of course. But let me say this. When it comes to pain of any kind, I don’t think any one person’s pales in comparison to anyone else’s. Pain is pain and you are so right that it often takes more than a physical toll on the bearer. I think pain is subjective and can only really be defined by the person who owns it – what one person might find tolerable, another might find unbearable, even if they were somehow objectively equal. Does that make sense? I definitely do think, though, that those who know chronic pain understand when someone else has it as well. It’s like a very strange fraternity/sorority of sorts. 😀
      Thanks for the vibes!

  10. You wrote this so well. Over and over I thought, I have to show this to Brian. I’ve never been able to express this so clearly, and he’s the one who gets the brunt oft tantrums, of course. And he can’t understand how when I say, “We need to leave this party now,” I’m genuinely about to fly into a million pieces. Never in my life have I thought ofbthe comparison with TFOTHOU, but I get that, I do. A good comparison.

    1. Thanks. Roderick Usher is the example I think of most often when I need to describe what it feels like to be me some days. We have had many many conversations about all of this over the years. The key is to have them when you are not in the “need to leave right now” place.

  11. I also suffer from RA and it sucks! I try to manage mine with the right medications, food and exercise but lately it’s been going crazy and I can’t get it to stop. As you said that just makes it worse because I start stressing about it and that just makes it worse. May tomorrow be a better day!

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