No Limits!

No LimitsAh, Superman. The epitome of masculinity, the man of strength. He is even more super than many of us could ever imagine, for one of his many comic book series is titled “No Limits!”. (I don’t know about you, but this sounds like my type of superhero.)

I wondered: is it really possible for Superman to have no limits? We’ve all heard about kryptonite, but maybe many counseling sessions with his therapist finally paid off and allowed Superman to overcome his fear of the wicked green element. (Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy might be just a little jealous, but he has a wonderful psychologist of his own. Go Team RA Guy!)

I wanted to hear what other people were thinking about superheroes and limits, so I did an internet search and landed in some comic book/superhero discussion forums and found many very heated debates on the topic. Can Superman sit on the sun? Can Superman breathe when he is in outer space? Can Superman’s skin ever get cut? The list went on and on. (Some people were apparently quite upset that such questions were even being asked – really! Note to self: just when I think my pain can’t get any worse, visit these forums again.)

Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy was recently asked how he learned his limits. I really appreciated the question (especially coming from another young guy with RA – we really do exist!), as I realized that I had never really stopped to think about this question.

I would love to say that I continually assess my situation and adapt accordingly. That I am always aware that with the pain and inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis comes fatigue, and that I need to plan my activities appropriately, otherwise I will find myself deeper in a hole. I want to say that my to-do list needs to be cut in half, and then cut in half again. And then, still, cut in half again. It would be great to communicate that I have no problems balancing the logistical and financial concerns of daily life with the emotional and physical demands of living with RA. Last but not least, I sometimes want to believe that my gender plays no role in my ability to accept certain limitations and weaknesses, both private and public.

But I would just be kidding myself.

Quite often, I learn my limits only after pushing myself too far. In extreme cases, I finally do learn my lesson and promise not to make the same mistake again. Still, I am just beginning to realize that as soon as my flare subsides and my body seems to be back to its “normal” self,  I often find myself  back in the same place – pushing myself past my limits.

So I don’t yet have a complete answer to the question of how I learn my limits, but I hope that my new awareness combined with my continued counseling sessions will allow me to continue to make the progress that is necessary in order to take care of my mind, body, and spirit. And maybe, just by bumping up against my limits a less often, they will begin to fade away.

Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

6 Comments
6 comments
  1. Millicent says:

    My mantra is, “Live in the moment.” I have found it to be helpful in many situations, because planning too far ahead just doesn’t usually work. Limits change and what you can’t do on one day, you can the next. And as far as superheroes go, just living day-to-day qualifies many, many people—especially those with RA.

  2. sara says:

    I have to say, I think I learn mine the hard way-by pushing way too far past them and then paying the consequences…but I do learn them.

  3. Kali says:

    Oh yes, I know that pain all too well.

    I’ve only been severely limited by my disability for a few months shy of 2 years. I can’t tell you how often I’ve pushed to my limits, or cheerfully run over my limits (only to realize that I’d really run over MYSELF the next day).

    I don’t think any of us can learn this lesson without making the mistakes time and time again. And on top of that, there are so many different parts of it to learn! It seems like every day is finding a new part of my limits, usually by discovering the next day just how badly I went over them. *sigh* Today was an over-the-limits day, which was stupid as I have a guest coming tomorrow to stay through Monday.

    ~Kali

  4. Cathy says:

    It seems like learning our limits is always changing with who we become with this disease. Some days we feel we can take on the world and other days we just want to curl up in bed and become hermits. Okay, maybe that is just me. :)

    As I read posts from other bloggers, I see we each over do it somedays but how can we not? We all have goals for our lives and somedays we just want to move on with these goals and forget about the RA. Unfortunately it reminds us the next day but for that one day of just going and going…..it is wonderful!

  5. Miss Waxie says:

    Oh RA Guy, other than the awesomely awesome fact you researched this very topic of discussion by going to comic book sites (which really oughta come with black box labels of their own), I have thought of this very same topic in much the same way.

    I find that I only really remember I have limit when I exceede them. Tenfold. Apparently I kinda think I *am* supergirl each and every morning, and then by night, reality resets in. (Side deviation, I think I need to start thinking of myself as the much hotter batgirl – afterall, she achieved greatness a normal girl with all of her massively useful adaptive aids. Sound familiar??)

    Anyway, now that I feel like the world’s biggest geek, I’m just going to leave – hoping that you learn to hover near the line of your limits without completely smacking into them.

    Stay well!
    Miss Waxie
    http://acomiclifeindeed.wordpress.com

  6. RA Guy says:

    I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who pushes too far at times. I try not to, especially when I have to pay the consequences, but sometimes the changes in pain/inflammation/fatigue are so drastic from hour-to-hour that I don’t always moderate accordingly.

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