As my New Orleans trip crept up on me this past August, I quickly realized that my body just was not going to cooperate. As much as I wanted to go, I was not up to the walking. I gifted my tickets to someone unknown who really wanted, grabbed onto that bit of joy, and decided to make the most of my stay-cation.
First, let me say that it all started off very smart and full of good intentions – catching up on housework, getting in a husband date, reading.. but then came the Prosecco. With it came late night movies, lots of indulgent food/sweets, and way too much drinking.. I am all about some nibbles and wine.
By Sunday I was exhausted and had way too much sugar roaming about my system. I was stiff and hobbling about like the old crone that I was pretending not to be. By Tuesday I decided my evil, albeit delicious, new bubbly friend and I needed to go on a break. You would think that I would learn something by my age.. I blame New Orleans.
*much belated post, in my brain fog I had forgotten
Fibro fog.. it’s a real disrupter. Pre-diagnosis, I referred to this as extreme old lady brain. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t remember even the most simple things and on occasion even why I was where I was.. or sometimes even where I was. I joke, but at its worse it can be a bit scary.. not to mention all the side eye you get standing in the middle of the grocery store wine section with a completely blank expression for an extended block of time. True story – I had to message the husband to ask why I was there.. to which he amusingly replied, “Do you know WHERE you are?” Cute, cute.. I love him so much the more because he made me laugh in the moment.
Awhile back I bought this rituals for living dream book and planner. It was one of those schmancy frivolous purchases that I was lured into with a good sale. It turned out to be a life saver. In it I can keep track of what I want to accomplish overall and in a week. It helped me clarify my priorities and establish a simplified breakdown to make things a bit easier. What I liked about this one is that it has a place to set daily intentions, be creative, gives a weekly challenge, and has a place for you to express daily gratitude for one small thing in your life so you don’t lose focus on what is really important (hint – it’s not the dishes).
Now, I don’t feel you have to have a fancy pants planner to do any of these things, you can use any planner available. You can log in your own goals, inspirations, gratitudes, creativities, favorite lipstick color.. whatever makes your heart skip a beat in any old notebook really. Same thing. The point is to keep track, which is what it really helps me to do and to stay positive. If I can’t get something done, I just move it to another day or week. Sometimes I have been known to skip a week. If I notice that certain things are consistently getting missed, I reevaluate and maybe try to break it into more manageable chunks.. or I ask for help. Some days I may be struggling to even remember my name or I am just not feeling it and need the written reminders.. and I think it’s worth a try if you have an old spiral bound lying about.
One thing that hasn’t eased yet is the fatigue. I still feel tired and stressed most of the time. I still want to not get out of bed (as if the fat cats would allow that). I don’t want to do the hour long drive to work, or exercise, or shop.. basically coffee keeps me going because otherwise I would avoid all the big effort activities that need to get done in a day if I could. I must say that I do not enjoy this adulting that I so looked forward to as a child.. except the wine, I do enjoy the wine.
My biggest stressors, of course, are everyone’s biggest stressors – work, money, and chores. I make them even more so in my head because of my anxiety. Right? Adulting sucks. It is a no brainer, however, that I need said job.. and so far have been lucky to have one that pays sufficiently enough that I can afford life. It has not always been so and there’s no guarantee that it will always be so. Bills must be paid.. there’s not much to do about that.. at least not until that winning lottery ticket finds me.
To make the day more workable, I do shoulder exercises at my desk since that is where I carry the most of my tension. I get up to do some intermittent walking when I can and my fit bit nags me into it. I Listen to interesting podcasts on my long drive. This all helps to distract from some of the pain usually and thus far I have thankfully enough not had to call in with it.
Against my doctor’s advice, I chose not to have her fill out the FMLA paperwork in case of unexpected absences. I understand the value of having that protection in the event that my condition worsens, but I feel where I am that there is an unspoken stigma that I am not prepared for. I hope to have my job to be able to pay things off and save up for the in case in the coming years.. I am not sure filing official documents would be fruitful to that end. As my boss likes to say, “perception is reality”. Even though I find that wrong and unfortunate, I feel like even if I never used it, that view would still linger.
For now, I will keep working on ways to manage my stress, rest when I can, and simplify other areas of my life where possible. The way I see it, less bills = less $ needed = less stress.. and since adulting remains on the table, I will worry about exercise and chores another day.. and maybe have a glass of wine instead.