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Why do we do this to ourselves?

02 Nov 13
Megan
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So, I woke early this morning with every part of my body aching and throbbing with pain. No matter how much I tried to get back to sleep, I couldn’t. In the end I got up and had a hot bath which soothed my muscles enough to get a little bit more sleep.

I’m pretty sure that this is a result of me doing too much over the past week and next week is just as busy (if not more so).

So why do we always try and fit too much into our lives?

I know that if I’m going to get better and build up my ability to do activities in a healthy way with chronic fatigue and chronic pain is to pace myself and cut back on how much I do in one day. And, compared to before I got sick, I am doing much MUCH less.

Before all this I was working full time, studying part time, exercising 3x a week (minimum) and spending a reasonable amount of time with my family and friends. Now I spend most days at home, only going out for medical appointments and occasionally visiting family or doing something with our friends. I do only 5 to 10 minutes of yoga a day and one short walk (I’m up to 6 minutes at the moment). I need to rest at least 2.5 hours a day and even then I feel as if I haven’t slept 99% of the time!

I know that with time I’ll get better at pacing and at saying “No” to those invitations I really shouldn’t be accepting but I guess at this stage I still want to believe that I can do everything I want to and that the consequences will be worth it (even though deep down I know that’s not true.

Do you still struggle with pacing yourself and saying no to those activities you really want to do but know you shouldn’t?

What techniques or tools do you have to help you with this?

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  1. Elodie November 2, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Letting go is the hardest thing. Maybe in your case it’s not about struggling to say no to things you enjoy but a journey in finding new activities you really do enjoy and fulfill you but require less of you.

    • meganschartner November 2, 2013 at 1:10 pm

      Hey Elo, I think that is part of it but it’s also about trying to reduce the things I do because I feel it’s expected. I still do quite a few things because it’s what I think I should be doing in other people’s eyes, when in reality I should’ve been resting or doing something lower energy consuming at the time.

      • kanaicontreattaque November 4, 2013 at 10:48 am

        I see what you mean.
        Other people expectations are hard to manage for everyone. I struggle with this all the time. This is manyfold (is that a word?).
        First we often project our own insecurities onto others and these expectations are not real.
        Secondly for the real expectations, then comes education. I think your blog is a wonderful way to do that. Before you started it I didn’t know anything about chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, etc. Then I started reading yours and other people’s blog about living with these conditions and through learning comes understanding about what it means for you and for people around you. As many of you say, it’s not something you can really perceive from the outside so it makes it hard to understand/relate to at first. People who love you will be willing to learn and understand.
        Most importantly there is communication. Real communication. If we (you and us) don’t want to be walking on eggshells, from your perspective as from your loved one’s. It makes me think at times where neither I or Alex wanted to be doing something but we would end up doing it as we both ASSUMED the other wanted to do it. What I mean by that is that I guess everyone is going to want to be able to invite you to things, because we don’t want to leave you out, but if you agree to it, we don’t want it to be to your detriment. And we don’t want you to come along because you feel you have to.
        Finally people who truly love you (and they are the one who matter) won’t judge you.

        • Megan S November 4, 2013 at 10:54 am

          This is exactly what I was trying to explain. Thank you so much.
          Even before I was sick I would always try to think of others before myself. This habit really frustrates E and he’s often trying to get me to make decisions on my own. I often had assumed what others expectations were and acted according to that.
          Thank you for your feedback on how the blog is helping you to understand what’s going on better. That is one of the main reasons I decided to start this.

  2. dawnhosking November 3, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    I try my best to say no and it’s difficult, especially when unexpected activity or events arise. Sometimes visitors will turn up unannounced and it has a big impact on my fatigue and pain — they look at me and see that I look OK but they can’t see what is going on inside of me. I pace as best I can and initially used a stop watch to time my paced activity.

    • Megan S November 3, 2013 at 9:18 pm

      I’m definitely trying to pace. I’ve even written up a schedule that (if I’m home for the day – i.e. no appointments, etc) I try to stick to and I’ve determined what my current limits are. The problem is some of those limits (e.g. walking – can only manage 6 minutes plus slow walking around the house without increasing symptoms) are way to low to actually allow for any activity outside of the house at this stage. I have tried using a timer but I seem to ignore it if I’m enjoying myself too much or I’m completely zoned out… For example, I should be going to bed right now.

      • dawnhosking November 3, 2013 at 9:26 pm

        It is restrictive, I remember the early days — I could only manage to stand up for 5 seconds and walk for that time too as I was incredibly light headed and dizzy. It has been a long and hard journey, seven years almost. I wish you the very best of luck and it’s great that we are in touch. Best wishes and sleep tight xx

        • Megan S November 4, 2013 at 7:58 am

          Thanks Dawn, I also get dizzy and lightheaded as soon as I get up. I just spend a lot of time holding onto the walls or whatever is near me.

  3. Lessie-Lou November 4, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Another Fibromite wrote a post about letting her non-fibro self rest, as in actually saying goodbye as if that person had died. It seems to have worked for her.
    I thought it was really interesting seeing as I can’t seem to let go and I always measure myself against what I used to do. This ALWAYS puts me in a TON of pain and I always feel terrible about it.
    Just something to ponder about. 🙂

    • Megan S November 4, 2013 at 5:54 pm

      That’s exactly what I do. I’m trying hard to let go. Although I’m struggling as it’s only been a short while and my brain kind of hopes it will all vanish at some point 🙂

      • Celeste November 4, 2013 at 5:59 pm

        I got my diagnosis a year ago almost to the day and I still can’t actually believe that I have to spend the rest of my life in pain.

        If it weren’t for my therapist, I wouldn’t be doing too well.

        • Megan S November 4, 2013 at 6:21 pm

          I think that’s part of the problem, I haven’t really had an official diagnosis yet. All the doctors have mentioned it as a possibility but no-one has actually done the tender point check and said yes, this is what you have.
          The only real diagnosis I’ve had is the Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (diagnosed through surgery). The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was written on my doctors certificate but not said to me out loud (so I’m going to confirm that one in my next appointment hopefully). And as I said the Fibromyalgia has only been mentioned by everyone but the diagnosis I’m being given is “Chronic Pain”.

  4. emmx2013 November 6, 2013 at 10:00 am

    This has been a big change for you! My best wishes for your
    improved health and happiness.
    Evelyn
    Here’s to Your Health!
    evelynmmaxwell.com

    • Megan S November 6, 2013 at 10:02 am

      Thanks Evelyn!

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  6. Trisha November 22, 2013 at 5:13 am

    I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia ten years ago and I still struggle with pacing. I just don’t use any common sense when planning my day or week. I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it quicker than me though! It’s just hard to say no to things we want to do.

    • Megan S November 22, 2013 at 7:58 am

      Exactly, people around me don’t seem to understand that. E gets frustrated at me when he asks me if we’re doing something (because he’d said it would be up to me) and then I sit or lie there going “Yes!… But I don’t think I should… But I really want to… But I don’t have the energy…”. I think you get the picture 😀

      • Trisha November 23, 2013 at 5:19 am

        Oh, yes. I know that “I want to but I shouldn’t” feeling all too well. It’s so hard!

        • Megan S November 23, 2013 at 8:06 am

          It’s something that I struggle with daily, and I usually give into it still. I need to get a lot better at saying no and realising it’s not the end of the world.

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