Do you ever feel like your body is falling apart? I do. I’m almost 42 and I often feel like my body is falling apart at the seams. I think it’s part of the chronic illness ‘issue’, but one I could do without!
As you may know, I have Hashimoto’s which is an auto-immune thyroid condition. I was initially diagnosed when I was 23 and I have been working out how to best manage it over the last 10 years (yes, for 10 years I didn’t really ‘manage’ it). When I was first diagnosed I was told it was ‘easy’ as ‘all you have to do is take a pill everyday for the rest of your life’. Of course, it’s never that easy. I have realised over time that it actually does need ‘managing’ and just taking my medication is not enough. I have also realised over time what a massive impact your thyroid has on pretty much every system in your body. For me, a lot of the impact is in systemic inflammation.
The latest in my string of aches and pains is some chronic inflammation in my feet, together with at least one ganglion (cyst of fluid between the joints in my forefoot). The long and the short of it is that I have to wear a moon boot on my right foot for 4-8weeks and then most likely wear it on my left foot. Basically I need to get the load off my feet to give the inflammation a chance to reduce. Just ‘rest’ the podiatrist told me. Clearly he’s not a mother.
This, however is not a ‘whinge’ post, although some days I do feel like a big whinge.
Where do you get your inspiration? In the shower? Driving the car? For me, often I get inspiration when I am in church. This morning I was sitting in church feeling a bit sorry for myself and the idea for this blog post sprung to mind. So I jotted down some notes on some practical ways to ‘deal’ with the feeling that you’re falling apart. Here is what I came up with:
- Be grateful – focus on the positive, what DOES work. There are certainly people in FAR worse physical pain and frustration to me, so when feeling a bit ‘woe-is-me’ I try to be grateful for what I have and what I don’t! Gratefulness is a massive humbler.
- Be kind to yourself – take it a bit easy, reduce your standards for the quality of school lunches, household tidiness or the number of things you need to tick off your to-do list.
- Focus on others – it does help to think about how you can help someone else. You don’t have to run around and DO a lot if you’re in pain and trying to rest, but why not put your feet up, pick up the phone and check in on a friend or 2?
- Get help if you need it – outsource what you can afford to. Get the kids to do more (I need to try that one!).
- Get professional help – support your health with a good ‘team’ to give you the best medical/health treatment you can. I have a fabulous doctor, naturopath (2 actually), acupuncturist and chiropractor. Try to get to the bottom of what’s going on in your body.
- Reduce stress in your life – I know for me most of my stress is self-imposed. I heap expectations on myself of what I should, could, or want to get done. I also heap expectations on those around me too. When those expectations aren’t met, I get frustrated and stressed. I need to learn to do what I can and let go of the rest. I need to learn not to impose my expectations on others. I need to chill. Do you?
- Pray. It helps me. Even if you’re not into spiritual things, it’s worth a try!
So, those were the notes I made during the beginning of church and then the message was on Psalm 23. Many of you would have heard of Psalm 23. It’s a famous Psalm. Here are the first 4 verses:
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
Why a sprawling sheep (ok, it’s not really sprawling but the image I had for sprawling sheep, Leigh told me was a dead sheep, so thos one looks more relaxed!!)? Because that’s what it apparently means to ‘lie down’ in green pastures – it’s that sense of carefree ‘sprawling’, restoring and refreshing ‘stopping’. Sometimes we are ‘made to’ stop and rest, it’s not always our choice, but it’s good for us. It’s healing, restful, restorative. We need to rest and know we are cared for and loved. Even in the dark ‘valleys’ of life, we are not alone. This Psalm has given great comfort to many of the centuries, and it was comforting to me today. Even in the ‘storms’ of life we need to keep moving, not stop, know that God has our back.
So even when you feel like your body (or mind!) is falling apart, there is hope and comfort and even, if we learn, ways to dance in the rain. (Thanks to Kerrie Frizzell for a great message this morning too).