So yesterday was one of those days that didn’t work out for doing much of anything but zoning out and hoping for a better tomorrow. But when you have an autoimmune disease, those days will come along. So I admit I didn’t listen to any of Autoimmune Revolution tapes yesterday. But I thought I’d share with you how I get through the really bad days — the ones where answering the door, checking the mail, or even moving is agony.
One thing I decided very early on after my diagnosis was that if I did nothing else, I would make my bed up everyday. There’s something about making the bed that says, “Your day has begun.” Even on days like yesterday when I had to immediately lie back down, there is a difference in lying on the bed as opposed to lying in the bed all day. It says I haven’t given in. I began my day. Sure it’s a little thing, a mind trick, but hey the difference between resting my body and wallowing in my misery is huge.
Another thing I do is watch foreign films. This helps on days when holding a book is painful because of arthritis or my eyes are dry from Sjogrens. I like foreign films because I have to stay focused. Sometimes I have to pause or rewind in order to read the text, but my mind stays in the game. Yes, I’m watching TV most of the day, but I’m reading while watching so I’m engaged. I’m not just lying there letting whatever I’m watching sink in or passing the time with movies or TV shows that are mindless. Not that I have anything against that! There’s a time and place for mindless, juvenile humor that helps you turn off your mind for awhile and have a good laugh. But when you are unable to interact with the world, it helps to find things that make you feel like you are at least doing something. For me, it’s foreign films. And I get the added bonus of seeing some really delightful, strange and sometimes creepy movies.
When my eyes can no longer focus on the TV, I pull out one of my favorite all time gifts, my Bose noise reduction headphones. Music can truly help you get through some dark times. Right now I’m listening to Loretta Lynn’s Full Circle 2016. Listening to the introduction to Whispering Sea, the first song she ever wrote. I always have my headphones nearby in case I need them. Music is a balm.
Also, because it’s sometime hard to write, I’ve taken to recording myself. Story ideas, poems, songs, first lines — anything I think of. Right now I have hours and hours of poems and songs to transcribe. I might look back at the last year or so and think it’s been a waste of time, but as I’m listening and gathering all the material I’ve produced, I’m heartened. I remember that I’m still here creating and thinking–planning and learning.
Now, here’s some good stuff. As I was writing this, I forgot I had switched to YouTube to share Loretta Lynn with y’all and suddenly Penatonix is singing Hallelujah!. So now I’m off to go drink Bone Broth (I’ll let you know how it goes) and listen to Leonard Cohen.
You can still listen to Autoimmune Revolution and today’s theme is the mind. How the brain handles chronic pain and such. I think I’ve got the rest of the day covered with Leonard Cohen, but I’ll report on the broth and today’s tapes tomorrow. But till then enjoy my second favorite Leonard Cohen song, Suzanne.