343 // Self-Care Is Medicine

I was meant to be at work today but instead was forced to stay home in bed by a nasty neck pain/tension headache combo that no cream, sleeping position, or pain reliever would touch. I worried I’d be incapacitated all day, but a few extra hours spent resting in dark and silence did the trick, and by mind morning I felt a lot more like a human being again.

I had hoped not to need to miss anymore work for a while since I’ve been feeling so much better, but medications, and coming off of medications, come with their own side effects. My body is only adjusting.

There was some good news, too. For the first time in many, many months I had an appointment with my doctor that was all positivity and hope.

One interesting things we talked about was the increasing effect my mental state is going to have on my symptoms from now on. It turns out that because of all the ongoing inflammation and scarring, my gut will never be the same. My system is going to be a little more sensitive than most, a little more at the mercy of outside influence.

I will have to get used to a new normal, and that means listening and acknowledging not just my body, but my feelings too.

Everyone’s gut is affected by emotion, but for someone like me who’s gut has sustained so much damage, every bad day and stressful situation is going to mean discomfort and distress. That means getting enough sleep, meditating, exercising, journaling, taking time for myself and doing the things I love are much more than necessities. They are now treatment.

They are medicine that must be taken daily as prescribed, as scheduled, as needed.

Today started out rough but slowly improved. I am grateful for coworkers who are also friends and who hold me to a higher standard, who support me while I struggle, and who make me laugh. After understanding laughter is the most important thing. Laughter makes you brave, makes you stronger than you knew, makes the hurt and the work so much less and the satisfaction so much more.

Class is still going on and I am still working long hours and still left with so little time for me. It’s ok though, that light at the end is getting closer and brighter by the day. I’ll make it.

This afternoon was hard but for entirely different reasons than the last few weeks have been. I heard some devastating news about a friend and it’s the kind of situation where my help is unwelcome. It isn’t my business or my problem and though I am emotionally invested in the outcome, my involvement will only make matters worse. All I can do is wait, and watch, and hope.

But I’m hurting too. Friendships are risky the same as romantic relationships. We open ourselves up. We let them in, and we have no guarantee that it will last. They can flit in and out, disrupt and damage, or leave you as broken-hearted as any lover. That isn’t to say in this situation I was hurt intentionally or that I have any right to be hurt at all, but I am all the same, and I simply needed somewhere to say that out loud.