Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy apologizes in advance, if any of the metaphors that are used in today’s post do not make sense.
If I were a contestant in Top Chef right now, I would definitely be “in the weeds” – restaurant lingo for not being able to keep up with the orders; swamped. (Speaking of chefs and rheumatoid arthritis, Sara from The Single Gal’s Guide to Rheumatoid Arthritis recently had an interesting article on The Next Iron Chef Ame-RA-ca.)
I find myself coming up with these metaphors during rough times, in order to maintain some sense of humor and balance. I don’t think that I use them in order to deny or avoid what is going on at the moment; in fact I think they actually help me process what is once again happening. When it feels once again like the situation is unmanageable, I have to do my best to turn it back into something that I can manage.
I have come up with a lot of metaphors in the past two days.
Just a few minutes ago, I finally got out of bed. Whether the period during which I was not able to move lasted 60 minutes or 90 minutes or 120 minutes, I do not exactly know. I do know that it seemed to last much longer than usual. Up until this past year, moments like this would have created feelings of intense anxiety and claustrophobia. Not any more. Even during these periods, I gotta try to have fun. I have already used the story of the troll who lives under my bed with a sledgehammer…so this morning, I needed to come up with something new.
Origami – perfect! I am made of paper, and came by during the middle of the night and turned my arms and legs into an origami creation – beautiful still, but not too functional. (Maybe the included some cranes, for good luck?) All morning long, as I struggled to move, I envisioned myself undoing the origami folds. One by one, minute by minute, I went through the hundreds of folds. Finally, I was able to move. (Yes, I know that this inability to move is related to the inflammatory process that is taking place and that I can’t really speed it up, but like I said, I needed to have some fun.)
Yesterday was a typical slow Sunday here in my house. Mid-afternoon, I decided to unroll my exercise mat and pull out my large exercise ball. My goal was not to do an intense workout or anything of that nature…I just wanted to flex my body and do some gentle exercises on my wrists, ankles, and knees. As my regular yoga routine music played in the background, it reached the part that I normally use for the final relaxation period.
At first I was not going to enter into corpse pose and do this relaxation segment…after all, I barely did anything during my routine. But then I decided to go ahead, what the heck? As I laid down and closed my eyes, I was startled to realize how much pain my body was in. I don’t think this was pain that was a result of the gentle exercises that I had just done. Instead, I think it came from resting my mind and body, and actually paying attention to the state that my body was in. It is so easy to once again ignore the signals that my body is sending me.
I fell asleep on my mat – which I have never done before. When I eventually woke up, I moved to my bed, and fell back to sleep. I could not shake off the pain or the fatigue, and remained in this state for hours. (Warning: metaphor around the corner.) I felt like Pinocchio, when he was stuck in Monstro’s belly. Confused. Trying to orient myself. Wanting to get out. Surprised, once again, at how quickly the symptoms seem to have arrived.
The good thing, though, is that all through yesterday and today I have found myself with a calm mind. In the past, my mind used to race out of control. I know what is happening to my body right now. I know what I need to do in order to get through periods like this. I know everything is going to be okay. And with this, I feel confident. Where this ride will take me and how long it will last I do no know, but I do know that I will get through it.
Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!