I went to go get a 90 minute massage yesterday. Sounds amazing, right? They normally are, but I struggled through the whole thing. I yelped out in pain several times (and no, it wasn’t because of the massage therapist – she is wonderful, I’ve seen her several times). I’m just so used to being in pain that I sometimes forget how much pain I’m actually in until someone hits just the right spot.
The massage therapist said she could tell I was in pain – not just because of my yelping, but because of all of the tense muscles. She said there was lots of resistance, etc. All week I’ve been looking forward to this massage, but instead of leaving happy and relaxed (like I normally do), I left the appointment feeling emotionally jolted and physically sore. I’m not a crier, but I wanted to cry.
Out of habit, I try to sweep the pain and the future possibilities of a fused spine, ruptured Achilles, damaged joints, etc, under a rug and plaster on a smile. If you ask me how I am, chances are I’ll tell you I’m fine. The appointment today was a very raw and real reminder of just how “damaged” my body is.
Today I’m taking it easy. There isn’t a place on my body that isn’t hurting. I’m exhausted, sad, and still dealing with the emotions from yesterday. It is few and far between that I find myself in this “place of depression” because of my autoimmune diseases, but today I’m allowing myself to go there, to grieve, so that I might reconnect with the joy around me so I can move on.
Where’s the “reset” button when I need it?!
I’ve always felt that those of us struggling with autoimmune diseases are stuck in a never ending cycle of grief. We go through all 5 stages of the grieving process only to run up against something new (whether it’s a new diagnosis or medication that’s not working, or a reality check like mine yesterday), and have to start the grieving process over again, or backtrack a step or two in the process itself.
How does that saying go? “I can’t choose my circumstances, but I can choose how I react to them.” I think there’s a lot of truth to that. So today I’m allowing myself to grieve, but tomorrow is a new day and I’m going to choose joy in the morning, despite how much pain I might be in.
“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”
― Joseph Campbell
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