Confinement…. Imprisonment, restraint, limitation, restriction… Those words don’t conjure up any warm and fuzzy feelings do they?
As a chronic pain survivor I very well know the feelings of confinement… confinement in your home, your bedroom, your mind, your body… Pain can be a confining and a lonely place to be at times. Can’t it?
If it wasn’t bad enough that your pain has confined you to your bed, it can feel like it represses who you really are… limits your potential… hinders your personal relationships… puts a cramp into having ‘normalcy’ in your life…. CONFINEMENT – doesn’t that describe it all?
The reason I was thinking about that word today is because I am supposed to be on as much bed rest as I can handle this week. For those who don’t know – I have been going through a bad spell the past 2 weeks… It is well beyond a flare, it is that gripping desperate pain that leaves you incapacitated… it is gross, and I hate it…. If I can stay at a level of pain in which I THINK I have control somehow I tend to be okay… when it surpasses that level and it leaves me feeling like I have NO control.. well… let’s just say I may be a bit of a control freak… and I am not so good at surrendering my power to my pain….
I saw my Doctor this week, and she was a little worried about how far and fast I fell in a short period of time. She is always really good at being encouraging, and I hardly ever see her ‘sweat’, but the look of empathy on her face this week was something I couldn’t ignore. She looked like she was going to cry…. and I don’t mind, it shows that she is very human, just like the rest of us. We spoke about the stress I have been dealing with in my life, and how I’ve been dealing with it… we talked openly about how ‘shitty’ this pain can be, and how it is okay to STOP wearing the ‘happy face’ from time to time…. we talked about slowing down…. So she upped my meds a little, added a new one into the mix, and said she’d like for me to be laying down as much as possible for the next week because she doesn’t want me to ‘engage’ any of the muscles in my core, lower back, and hip area… I have a huge amount of swelling on top of a chain reaction of spasms.. and she wants me to try to break the wicked cycle… “Stay in bed for a whole week?”…. I laughed and asked her if she remembered that I have a 4-month-old puppy and an 8-year-old son!! HA HA!!
Now, I will fully admit to not being a good patient 😉 . I think I come by it honestly – I come from a LONG line of stubbornness (and I personally think that is a GOOD quality to have!). Yesterday I sat all day, and couldn’t figure out why I was SOOOO sore by dinner time…. Do you know how many muscles you engage when you sit?!? I sure found that out the hard way!! I am so sore I cannot even sit?!? That sounds incredibly lame…..
My honey ALWAYS puts me first… and I LOVE him for it. He made dinner last night, and kicked me out of the kitchen when I tried to do the dishes…. This morning he wouldn’t let me get out of bed – he took care of everything, ran the puppy, put her in her jail pen, covered her up so she would sleep, and headed to work. I forced myself to lay in bed until 10, but by that time I think I could have DIED from boredom! I got up, made a coffee, made a bed for myself on the couch, and here I am… thinking about how many loads of laundry I could do today, and how I’d love to walk down to the coffee shop, grab myself a decaf/skinny/mocha latte/ with whip and go peruse in the yarn store for a bit before taking the long way to go pick up my little dude from school on this sunny day…. The java and yarn might have to wait for another day, but my little dude needs to come home this afternoon 😉
The thing is, as I thought about the word “confinement” and all that it means, it occurred to me that it is totally okay to feel that way, as long as you have something that can BALANCE out that feeling…. Akin to a teeter-totter in the playground, if you don’t have 2 similar sized people sitting on it the only direction you are going to go is DOWN… If only one child sat on the teeter-totter they would be stuck on the ground forever…. How much fun is that?
So how do you find the balance? Ultimately the TOP is the most fun place to be, but the middle is okay too 😉
Just because we are physically confined at times, that doesn’t mean that we have to be mentally or emotionally hog-tied…. There are ways that we can find freedom no matter where we are, or what shape our body is in. It just requires having an open heart….
- Call a good friend and share some laughs
- Get completely LOST in a good book
- Have you ever heard of Skype? You can meet for a cyber-coffee-date with ANYONE around the world using Skype! Check it out!!
- Start a journal and begin to release your inner-most feelings… there is SO much freedom in that!!
- If the journal works for you, why don’t you start your very OWN blog? I can’t TELL you how much my life has changed since I started Graceful Agony…
- Are you on Facebook? Or maybe the better question is who ISN’T on Facebook?!?!? Reach out and say hello to someone you haven’t spoken to for a while…. reach out to 10 people… I bet a few of those people will return the favor and reach out to YOU…
- Do you like to knit, crochet, embroider, scrapbook etc…. What is your hobby? Those things can bring peace and fulfilment if you’d allow them to! Make a scarf for someone who least expects a gift from you… Get out your scrapbooking supplies and make a home-made card to send to someone who is needing a lift… It will end up being a gift for the BOTH of you.
- Put on your favorite music, crank it up, and get lost in the harmonies and the lyrics… Day-dreaming isn’t necessarily a bad thing to do…
I could go on and on… but the point I am trying to make is that PAIN doesn’t have to be a life-sentence in solitary confinement… Although many times it doesn’t seem like you have a choice in the matter, you often do. It doesn’t “ALL OR NOTHING”, it can be a little at a time….
I think we all tend to isolate ourselves when we are in a lot of pain, and there is a reason for that. I think it very much is a defense mechanism, but unfortunately that can end up blowing up in our faces if we let it and do more damage than good… ALONE and LONELY are two different creatures…
If you are ‘confined’ today, ask yourself these questions:
a) What is confining me?
b) What is it that I am NOT doing that I am still capable of?
c) Why am I NOT doing it?
The answers might surprise you…. and you may find that you have room for a little freedom today 🙂
What are the things that YOU can do right in the next few days that would make you feel less “confined”?
Please leave your ideas in the comments section of this post!! They just might be able to help someone else!!!
Wishing you peace, freedom, and an open heart today!
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