I have done my best to take things easy lately. I used to stress about squeezing in extra work to make up for the time I am missing while at aquatic therapy, but I relaxed on that since I found the therapy itself was eating a lot out of my energy pie, and I was asking for trouble by pushing myself any harder. So I continued to take my weekends off.
In all fairness, this routine has helped me attain a level of normalcy that I am happy with; but it does leave me with very little time to actually do any work! A lot of the experiments I run requires a certain chunk of time devoted to it, and I cannot always abandon them in the middle of it. So really, I only have three 6-8 hour days to do all my work in. As a result, I feel the pressure to make the most of those three days and be as efficient and “perfect” as possible in what I do.
And there’s the problem!
Featured Image: Darkness with a Hint of Light (18X24, oil on canvas) – sort of fits with the theme of the post and my current mood.
Last week, my symptoms flared in two of those three days, right after I had started to work on something. After months of not being able to do much, since teaching during the semester eats out massive chunks of my time and energy, I did not want to slow my already slow ass down any further. So I tried my best to push the pain out of my mind and continue working. This did not work so hot, so I tried to rush my work so I could go home and
die lay down.
That was NOT a good idea.
In my rush and inability to think or focus beyond the pain, I had messed up. Granted, it wasn’t a massive mess-up but it made me look stupid, like I didn’t know what I was doing, and my boss made a big (enough) deal about it. Any other day, I would have brushed it off. But that day, I could not. I was both angry and upset, first at others for making it a bigger deal than it needed to have been, and then at myself for not knowing any better. I mean, what was I thinking??? I should have just waited until after the flare, and sucked it up about being slow, but I had to rush! And I had to mess up!
It seems unfair because nobody sees how hard I try – when I swallow my pain to get something done, I do that in private – but when I fall face-down, it’s always in public and everybody sees. It’s not that I want other people to acknowledge my struggles necessarily, I would just like fate to cut me some slack! Especially because I don’t work as much as I used to, I try really hard to do right whatever I do get done. But now I had messed up in really stupid ways and felt like a complete loser. Given how much pain I had withstood only to fail, I considered giving it all up in that instance, doubting the worth of anything at all that I do. I was ready to dig myself a grave (obviously figuratively, since I didn’t have the strength to do it literally), crawl into it and stay there forever. It hurt because I expected the universe to co-operate for once, when I really was trying so hard, but of course that wasn’t to be. And I should have expected that. But I didn’t. And I was mad about that too.
I did learn a few lessons out of this miserable week though: (1) I will never make the mistake that I did which started the downward spiral in my mood. (2) I will make doubly-sure to not rush myself, especially when I cannot focus in the midst of a flare. (3) I realized that I am obviously not at nearly as much peace with my current condition as I thought I was. I don’t seem to have quite accepted it enough, as yet, that I am not the person I used to be and that I will never be able to do what I once used to do.
At least that last point gives me something to actively work on! And there’s a reason to crawl out of my figurative grave I guess. At a time like this, I need to keep reminding myself of all the good things that fibromyalgia has brought to my life. Maybe this will propel into getting off my butt and write it already!!