Monday, March 24, 2014

No pain, no gain

        For a large part of last week, I thought I was doing pretty well. I wasn't feeling much pain, just a very slight, dull ache that I could ignore easily enough. I felt exhausted, but not in pain. But then I went to the gym, and did a very light work out (although, yay, I discovered that I can still do squats if I adjust my feet a little!)... and that ended my "good" period. I felt energetic and happy but also more tense and in pain. And then I went to work, and was miserable by the end because a fogginess set in.

          I can avoid pain if I avoid doing certain things that help make my life worth living. But I can't just be sedentary. Even if it doesn't help long-term with the pain, being unfit isn't going to help my life on the whole. I want to start hiking, I want to dance, I want to be strong.

           I can put up with pain, I just may have to be smart about timing. It would be no good to push myself until I'm totally out of commission when I'm supposed to be at work or something, but I can put up with a level of pain. I would rather suffer pain than a loss of vitality and function, or giving up on being able to enjoy movement. The cliche of "no pain, no gain," feels far more accurate than it used to (true pain is not generally a good sign), and if that remains true, I guess I'll be dealing with a good bit of pain.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Musical mood boosters (for when you feel like slapping positivity in the face)

       Sometimes when I'm in a negative mood, overly happy-cheery songs and such are extremely irritating. They seem so far from the truth that I can't connect, they only seem to highlight how low I am. There are plenty of songs that feel good because I do relate, but those can be dangerous because they help me dwell in what I'm feeling. But some songs manage to be relatable in those low points while still lifting me up...

        "Start Another Story" - Emilie Autumn
        "Yesterday will find you, where you've been before. Let the past remind you what's done. Now look for something more .... never if, only when."
       I'm still in transition, it's easy to get caught up in yesterday... in old chapters... but it's time for a new story. "One Foot in Front of the Other Foot" is another good one by her, which also deals with where things are/were being really bad and trying to move forward (although more powerfully positive and hopeful and definitely stands out among the rest of her music...).
         "Perpetual" - VNV Nation
         "Find it in you, raise your eyes. Look beyond the place you stand."
          This is a song that I hear as encouraging me to fight my way out of the abyss. To see the potential for greater things, and move towards them.

          "Be a Light to Yourself" - De/vision
          "But I'm not letting go, for I know you have to be a light to yourself. Be a spark in the dark. Shine and be a light to yourself. Watch me glow."
          Definitely not a happy song, but a reminder that sitting around waiting for someone or something else to light the way doesn't work so well... and implies the ability to "be a light."
           "Last Light" - VNV Nation
           "Seek no more for hollow answers. Answers that lay within you all along."
            Somehow this song strikes me as affirmation-y without setting off my "positive bullshit" reflex.



Sunday, March 16, 2014

        It's been a bad little while, hence the relative silence. I've been too exhausted or in pain most of the time to be positive and pleasant. I don't have the energy to keep the feelings of emptiness and despair from coming in all too often. There is reason to hope, and honestly maybe I should be proud of myself for not breaking down more completely, all things considered. But I'm not even doing well enough to write a decent post, I thought I could, but by the time I started writing it had drained away.

         So that's why I'm not posting much. I refuse to let this devolve into the kind of miserable drivel I wrote in high school... even if that means never making a set schedule, because forcing myself into a better writing state of mind is not a current skill.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

        I just found a survey that suggests that exercise is actually more commonly a negative thing for fibromyalgia. -_- There are also articles talking about exercise causing "flares." I think I give up researching. I give up trying to collect general treatment strategies. Not because the research disagrees with me, but because it disagrees with itself... I've seen at least as many sources that say exercise is a must.

         All I can do is experiment. Heat seems to be beneficial, so I got an electric blanket, and I feel like I'm waking up more refreshed now. While it's hard to start, dancing leaves me feeling no pain (except perhaps normal burn from working certain muscles). These kinds of things seem more useful for me than looking at what has or hasn't worked for other people. Still worth looking for ideas, but not for effectiveness.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

        Well, it's been a week, and I'm still trying to come to terms with what's going on. With potentially having a chronic illness. I'd be looking at support groups and stuff, except... I feel like doing that could backfire. I feel like that kind of action could give it more power because I'm saying "I identify with this illness, let's find other people who share that." Instead of saying, for example, "I'm a dancer, fuck that, I'm going to put my effort into finding people who help that side of me grow." 

          I'm back to testing the waters. This has taken a huge toll on how active I can apparently be, so I'm having to take huge steps back to figure out where my new baseline is so I can work accordingly. Things like massage might be a higher financial priority for me now, and invested in an electric blanket (aka giant heating pad) for the first time. And maybe I have to be okay going at a slower pace, at least for a while,physically anyway. 

          But what I'm NOT doing is accepting a sedentary life style, because I want to move and I want to dance and I want to be otherwise healthy. I'm NOT giving up on dancing. I'm NOT going to fucking identify myself by another fucking illness because I know how fucking well that turns out. 

          .... and honestly, I've not been doing crap for the past while. Maybe it's because on some level I feel like there's no point, I don't know, I feel like my body crapped out on me in response to me treating it right. I feel quite drained, empty almost. And maybe that makes sense. But it's also time to start pulling things together again.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Not giving up

        So last week, I moved up to the next level of belly dancing (well, the "not-completely-beginning" level). This group is slowly working on a routine instead of just isolated moves. So, I was standing in a bit of a pose, waiting for music...

       And my mind went back to standing facing the back wall of a gym, cymbals on my hands, aware of the people forming a circle with me even though my head was down... waiting. That emotion, that space. That vibe. Nothing else existed. I don't know how to describe it to anyone who didn't know it. But. Let's just say that my marching days were filled with stress and anxiety and blood and tears and frustration... and I still think is was definitely a net positive.

         I need to move, I need to perform, I need to create. This touches too deep inside me to ignore.

         And if it means I risk causing a "flare" of pain by not taking it easy enough, so be it. I can't not do this. There is too much joy to be had in moving my body. It is too good a means of expression. My body will just have to readapt, and I may have to take it a little slower, but I'm not giving up. If this is something I'm gonna have to deal with, I wanna be one of those people where you find out they have such-and-such issue and you're surprised.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

        There isn't much use in suffering over suffering. There's a big difference between whining about the cold (even if only internally) and frantically trying to get to shelter as fast as possible, and accepting a bit of chill and being okay with it. The experience of cold is there regardless, but you cut off the emotional response that blows it up about 10 times worse.

         I'm thinking about this now because yesterday I got a tentative diagnoses of fibromyalgia. It's too early to say, but the doctor thinks that's what the symptoms so far point to. I'm having a hard time with the concept that what I've been experiencing might be chronic, might affect the quality of my life instead of just being annoying for a little while. Far as I can tell, the biggest reason it isn't certain is because, well, it still has time to turn out to be a virus taking it's sweet time totally leaving, or something. If it's fibromyalgia, it's chronic with not a good chance of getting better.

         I'm not doing too well with this. I know that far worse things happen, but that doesn't mean that this doesn't kinda really suck.


          All I'm doing in stressing about it and wondering if it's going to lower the quality of my life is giving it power. Whether what I'm dealing with turns out to be fibromyalgia or something more short term... I'm developing a habit of letting pain stop me. I'm coming into this with enough defeatist tendencies that what I'm essentially telling myself is that this pain can control me. It makes me want to give up on many of my dreams: health because I can't exercise as I'd like, dance, relationships, actually doing anything with my life because I'm too sapped from the pain and fatigue...

          I'm not doing myself any favors. I need to block this automatic thinking before it get ingrained any more. I can be strong. I can learn to shut off the emotional pain response a little better. Doing what I want (exercise) supposedly improves the chances of it getting better....

          I've lived under the shadow of depression too fucking long. I'm not letting another illness lay waste to years of my life. If I must suffer, I will be do so while being otherwise awesome.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Breaking my non-doctor-going streak.... in the name of art.

        Yay! I get to borrow the one helpful-looking blogging book I found from the library! Maybe I can actually get this off the ground and in a better direction. =D Or, you know, a direction at all.

         Anyway. I have a doctor's appointment this afternoon. After two weeks of feeling slightly sick and having my muscles ache too much for to want to dance (let alone weight lift and run and other things that help me actually dance well), I finally broke down and called the doctor. I pretty much avoid this whenever possible. It took years for me to go in for depression, I've not gone due to more physical illness since I got strep in 6th grade. It doesn't help that I've learned not to really trust doctors, between bullshit regarding mental illness and even more bullshit in regards to nutrition.

          I probably still would be sticking it out, but well... I have a performance in a little over 2 weeks. I have a feeling this is going to be laughable, but considering I'll have that insecurity no matter how long I wait, I have no intention of changing that intention. I need to get my muscles working right so I can practice and move well. I can't just let it keep going hoping it'll go away.

          Art > just not being in pain.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Light and Dark

        Not everything is bright, and happy. It's not all butterflies and sunshine, and pretending that it is isn't healthy. Pretending that everything is fine only let's things fester.
         There is balance in everything.

         To give a relatively tangible example: body image. It's not healthy to hate oneself over being fat (or skinny), but it's also not healthy to be content with it at unhealthy levels. Literally. This is the problem I have with the positive body image crap, the implication seems to be "you're beautiful just the way you are, don't try to change." I don't know about anyone else, but I'm learning to not hate my body and not be ashamed of it... but I'm also not okay with staying here because it's bad for health and clothes shopping and I know better than to think appearance doesn't matter and everything I'd do to change my body feels better anyway.

           The process is positive, I suppose, but that's kind of the point. I see posts and people that try to be bright and sunshine-y all the time, and all it looks like to me is trying to push everything negative into the shadows where it can fester and fuck things up. It's perhaps better than the extreme I used to be on, but neither is good. The most positive way to be, I think, is a balance of accepting and working with both the darkness and the light.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

negative relationships

        It's common enough to see quotes about not caring about someone who couldn't care less about you. But that doesn't answer the question of why it's even an issue. That is a draining, negative place to be in. Why would anyone have to think about not being in it?

         And yet, that's the position I've been in for years. I've always had uneven relationships. And it's no wonder that I've felt like a hopeless unlovable bit of nothing for so long; it's a message I often got from everyone else. I don't remember the last time I didn't have some relationship that kept bringing me down because I was reminded, oh yeah, they don't care about me. Some of this might be insecurity, but not all. These were people I cared about though, so I couldn't let go. I felt like a worthless piece of shit, remember. I didn't think I deserved anything better.

           Then I left high school, and my social circle shrunk to only a few people almost overnight. My clinging to negative relationships became more than just caring a bit too much for people who treated me like I was less than. It became feeling like I had to take whatever friendship I could get. Shyness, horrible sense of self-worth, and not being very introverted is a bad combination.

            I still don't know what the answer is. Can I break this pattern now, or is it inevitable unless I cut myself off from new people entirely? But I am still affected by the fact that I need people in my life, I'm not a lone wolf. On a longer scale, I suppose the answer is probably that I need to know my worth, and I need to be aware of when a relationship is only hurting me... but that's the longer scale.

            And in the very short term... I wish it was easier to tell if certain people didn't actually give a fuck or really are just very flaky. -_-