Self Care aka Dessert

I had all sorts of plans for this week, many of them doing related to being part of what ArthritisResearch UK is doing for their National Arthritis Week. None of it happened. Because I’m really tired.

I’m so tired I’m close to curling up and crying.

It’s my own fault. September was a wild ride of going back to work, being part of #RABlog Week, and somehow finishing the first draft of Book 2 in the Your Life with RA series.

I don’t know how I did it, either.

However, I have become extremely familiar with the consequences. For the past three weeks, I have been exhausted. I wake up not feeling rested, wanting nothing more than to stay in bed. I drag myself through the day until naptime, then keel over into a dead sleep. Then there’s dinner, an evening with some more stuff that needs to be done, a bit of drooling in front of the TV, and then at last to be. Except I’m so tired that my mind’s a whirring mess and I can’t sleep. So I take muscle relaxants which help me sleep, but increases the daytime zombiefication. And all the time, I fall further and further behind.

It’s a crash. It’s a really big crash. And because Fall has arrived in all its splendor and unpredictable weather patterns, it’s combined with a flare of both my RA and my Fibro. I miss summer already.

And it’s October and there’s so much to do. Did you know there are only 10 Fridays left until Christmas?

Oh, look. It turns out I am writing about the realities of living with RA after all.

A friend of mine (she knows who she is) occasionally puts an auto reply on her email indicating that because of her health, she is taking time to do self-care, and will get to the email when she can.

When I saw that for the first time, I was gobsmacked. You can do that? You can actually do that?!

Why don’t I do that?

Because I suck at it. When I was a child, my parents taught me to eat real food before dessert. In the convoluted workings of the accursed Protestant work ethic, somehow, taking care of myself in the face of The List gets translated to qualifying as dessert.

Yes. I do know that’s crazy. But tell me this, can you do it?

I’m pretty sure we all need a wife.

And then you get to the point where it becomes blatantly obvious that you have no choice. You have to take care of yourself or you will pay much bigger consequences. And as I’m writing this, it’s just occurred to me that I’ve been here before. Many times. This is my body begging me to be nice to it and I haven’t been.

I’ve been so tired I couldn’t hear it escalating from the nice asking, to begging, to… well, screaming, That urge to cry I mentioned isn't me. It's my body weeping with fatigue and frustration that I haven't given it what it needs. And if I don't,
it’s going to make me sit still.

So, since I don’t want to get sick, this is me making it official. I’m going to take a week off from the work ethic and the guilt.

I’m going to eat dessert first.

While I do that, I could use some help (or a smack upside the head). I need some suggestions - how do you practice self-care?


Anonymous said…
I think it's great that you are listening to your body. Although you are a little late to the party, go ahead and have some dessert. How do I practice self-care? Slowly. First I stop answering the phone. I send my close friends an email telling them I am "unhooking" for a while, electronically and my bra! It's pyjamas for a few days, tea, and binge watching Netflix, heating pads or ice packs, soft foods (yes, even my teeth and stomach rebel) and funny tv shows. The world will wait for me and yet somehow keeps spinning. Usually my energy slowly seeps back in...joints quit complaining and so do I. Life slowly returns to normal-ish and I get dressed again. Dessert is done and it's time to reconnect. Funny thing is, I am the only who seems to have noticed I was gone.
Anonymous said…
I understand completely. After my latest RA-related surgery I finally decided that I have to put myself first and am (semi) retiring in four weeks in order to focus on my health. Unfortunately part of that plan is weight-loss so I'm afraid I'm not only NOT going to be eating dessert first, I probably won't be eating dessert at all for a while. :-)

Popular posts from this blog

Weight Gain and Biologics: The Battle of the Pudge

What It Is Like To Wean Off a Tracheostomy