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The Importance of Pacing Yourself When You Have Fibromyalgia

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Over the past few weeks, I have overdone everything: physical therapy, socializing, cleaning, doctors appointments, unhealthy eating, driving and more. Worst of all, I thought I was doing well by walking every day, which I had not been able to do for years for any great distance. That’s what killed me the most. I can’t walk as much as I did, and, worst of all, I forgot I can’t.

I imagined myself on this healthy path with no limitations. My body and mind were not together. My mind was enjoying a life with no limits, while my body was experiencing a complete meltdown. I kept pushing the limits of my capabilities.

Now, I am paying for it – pain, muscle stiffness, exhaustion, muscle tension, weakness in the legs and depression.  I went from going 60 miles an hour to almost zero. I had to pace myself, stop physical therapy, rearrange my calendar, perform the necessary tasks at my pace and remind myself to go back to basics – pace myself, eat right, try to get enough sleep, meditation, writing, reach out to friends. I had to establish a healthy routine.

I thought I was normal and healthy again. I don’t like the term “normal,” because that would mean that I define myself as abnormal due to my health and that is incorrect. I hit a wall, and I hit it hard.  Reality reminded me that I am not healthy and that I must consciously think about things the rest of the world does not have to.

I did not have to deal with pain while I was pushing myself this hard, almost like I was running away from the fibromyalgia. But the running caught up with me, and I am paying the price. My legs are not working properly. For the first few days, I found it difficult to walk more than a few feet. It’s a little better now.

I have a “box theory,” that I am stuck in this box and every part of my life is in there – my illness and its limitations, my family, my responsibilities, my financial issues, etc.

I was spending most of my time and energy trying to reach outside of the box. I was using all my spoons and then some, mentally trying to get out of the box.

It’s time to expand the box – to find alternatives to my limitations – pace myself, plan, acknowledge and feel. Compromise in the middle, instead of on nothing, practice mindfulness and schedule activities, appointments and exercise carefully.  It’s all about balance.

Thinkstock image via macrovector

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